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PA Gareth Fuller
PA Gareth Fuller
PA Gareth Fuller
PA Gareth Fuller
UK News

Archbishop of Canterbury condemns government's approach to asylum seekers in annual House of Lords address

by Alex Collett

Most Rt Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has criticised the government's approach to asylum seekers - saying migrants should not be treated as 'invaders.'

The archbishop is calling for a change in policy, which includes allowing migrants who arrive in the UK to seek shelter to work, whilst they wait for a decision on their application.

Most Rt Rev Welby, this morning in the House of Lords, said that the current system is driven by "fear".

Speaking earlier he said the migrant policy should not be downgraded: "When we fail to challenge the harmful rhetoric that refugees are the cause of this country's ills, that they should be treated as problems not people, invaders to be tackled and deterred - we deny the essential value and dignity of fellow human beings.

"The right to seek asylum and the duty of the global community together to protect refugees has been politically degraded in this country, when it should be a positive source of pride."

The Labour Party says it would bring a new faster process for migrants from countries it deems as "safe", which includes Albania, in a bid to try to clear a claims backlog.

Continuing, Most Rt Rev Welby: "So much of the public and political debate on migration is driven by fear, linked to change and a fear of loss of control.

"Some of these fears are understandable. Many people are concerned that their communities and local services risk being overwhelmed."

The archbishop made reference to statistics that suggest that the number of asylum seekers has dropped in the past two decades.

He said: "In 2021, there were 48,540 asylum applications made in the UK.

"In 2002.that was 84,132, almost twice as much, and other countries have taken significantly more refugees.

"In the year ending September 21, Germany received over 127,000 applications, France over 96,000. It is not a competition, my lords.

"A compassionate asylum system is one that sees the faces of those in need, and listens to their voices."

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