(Source: People not Walls)

At this time when migrants are being evicted from Calais, losing access to fresh water and basic sanitation, ‘People not Walls’ has again repeated its pleas for those fleeing from persecution, unrest and environmental disaster which result in grinding poverty and risks to life and limb to be treated with dignity and respect and be given access to safe routes to claim asylum in the UK rather than risking their lives in hazardous Channel crossings.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – because they are human individuals and families who have suffered traumatic experiences, not people to be kept out of the UK at all costs.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – because, just as we have been reminded recently by the core message of the Black Lives Matter movement, those who are exiles from their own country face similar hostility and labelling as ‘not one of us’.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – especially when they are confined to the horrors of refugee camps such as those in Libya, Syria and, nearer to us, in Northern France, surviving in inhuman conditions and with no future they can look forward to.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – when the absence of basic health care and lack of education for child refugees and their families are a double burden.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – when young children fall into the hands of traffickers and become victims of modern slavery rather than reaching safety and sanctuary.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – hence it is morally unacceptable to leave those seeking sanctuary with no alternatives but to risk their lives in flimsy boats.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – because, as Pope Francis reminds us, ‘every migrant has a name, a face and a story’.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – and hence new legislation which will place even more lives at risk is not acceptable.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – because people are more important than failing artificial barriers such as walls and fences.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – which is why we need to end the cruel regime ‘No recourse to public funds’ which blocks access to health care, food and accommodation.

THEIR LIVES MATTER – and policies and practices at our boundaries should first be aimed at protecting the human rights and dignity of new arrivals and making their development as human beings possible.

Ben Bano, from ‘People not Walls’ commented: “This is a critical time for those seeking sanctuary who face more obstacles than ever in finding a safe route to claim asylum in the UK. Our new call, ‘Their Lives Matter’, focuses on this issue and calls for a campaign for dignity and humanity to be shown to those seeking sanctuary.”

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More stories on Novena on calls for protection for migrants:

Cardinal Hollerich hits out at “new selfishness” in Europe: “We cannot be Christians without having in our hearts the people who need help”

Holy See renews appeal to international community to open more humanitarian corridors for migrants and refugees

Pope deplores conditions in Libyan detention camps for migrants: “You cannot imagine the hell that people are living there”

Cardinal Montenegro denounces on anniversary of Pope’s trip to Lampedusa: “There is a Europe that is afraid of Africa”

Caritas Internationalis pleads for “courageous” solutions to plight of migrants nad refugees, “victims of violence, fear and an unjust system”

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.