Church’s duty to help child migrants
Rev Father David Gooday All Saints Cathedral, Mbabane, Swaziland Geoff Pringle Long Sutton, Somerset Alun Harvey Groningen, Netherlands Graham Dawber Wilmslow, Cheshire
SIR – Fraser Nelson asks “How many more Britons can we realistically expect to care for unaccompanied refugees?” (Comment, Issue 1,280). I can’t help thinking back to a time when families throughout Britain were asked to take in children in immense numbers – Operation Pied Piper in 1939 – when half a million children, pregnant woman and teachers were evacuated from industrial cities to put them beyond the reach of the Luftwaffe. It is estimated that over three million children were evacuated. There were private and Government-sponsored schemes, and some children spent as much as six years away from home. Whether this scheme was a success or not may depend upon the experience of individuals, but it cannot be denied that it saved thousands of lives. The current situation in the world, with literally thousands of immigrant children arriving in Europe every month, has some similarity and merits thought about developing an Operation Pied Piper to cope with the number of needy children applying for asylum in Britain. The EU wants the UK to accept 90,000 refugees a year. The Church unquestionably should have a role to play in such a rescue operation. If 50 per cent of the members of the Church of England, or any other Christian church, accepted one or two children into their homes, the problem would be solved. This would cost money – big money. But if David Cameron is prepared to devote £1 billion to care for refugees near Syria, a similar sum dedicated to assisting those who are prepared to give homes to these children might be a realistic solution to the challenge. If the Church can’t manage this in a time of national emergency, then what are they doing to live out the Gospel of Christ, who said “love one another?” SIR – On Thursday last week the BBC again highlighted the shocking humanitarian disaster unfolding in Syria. It subsequently featured a piece on “King Abdullah Economic City” in Saudi Arabia, which is being built to house two million citizens but which, with the downturn in oil prices, is likely to remain largely empty. International aid should now be diverted to complete the city so that it may house those displaced from Syria, redressing the Arab world’s reluctance to assist in the crisis on their doorstep. SIR – David Cameron epitomises the business saying “When you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that your mission was to drain the swamp”. He claims, somewhat dubiously, to have defeated the alligator of the current immigration crisis (report, Issue 1,280). But his real mission was to deal with the European swamp of political unaccountability, financial mismanagement and 30 years of undemocratic interference in British legal sovereignty. His negotiations to date have changed nothing. lawful arrest and consequent consideration for deportation to answer allegations of unlawful acts in Sweden. He is free to leave that embassy. Were he to do so, the authorities are entitled to arrest him. Were he taking refuge in any place other than a foreign embassy, the police would obtain authority to enter the building and effect the arrest. The decision by Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, to dismiss the UN’s findings is absolutely correct.