Monday, June 13, 2005

Methodist Conference

Had a meeting today with most of the delegates from the Sheffield district, including some ordinands too. It was interesting to hear what people had to say about the agenda, and I must confess I've hardly read any of it, I've been far too busy. And it's hardly good bed time reading. It seems that most people have concerns over the oversight report, which is good, cos I think it's ridiculous. There are so many issues the church should be debating and discussing rather than bishops and stuff, that to the majority of people is completely irrelevent.

We talked about making a notice of motion to raise the plight of asylum seekers in this country and the disgraceful way they are treated by the system. There was an incident involving some members at a church in Doncaster that I really feel needs to be highlighted at conference. Here's a bit of background:

The particular matter which both concerns and appals us is that at approximately 7am yesterday morning (16 February) the XXXX house was, without any warning, entered by people apparently acting on Home Office instructions. The people concerned had a key, but the door chain was in place. They therefore literally broke into the house, woke the family up, and took them off in a van to the Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre near Bedford. We understand that 7 men and 3 women took part in this intrusion. Can you imagine what a devastating effect such action had on this family, particularly on vulnerable young children? It may not be too strong to say that this action amounted to a form of child abuse, and I have no doubt that the nightmare of strange people breaking into their house and taking them away in a van will continue to have serious psychological effects on these children for many years, if not for life.

What possible justification can be given for this action? The family have lived at this address for over two years. They have been exemplary, law abiding citizens. They have settled well into the local community in every way. They are very happy in Doncaster. There was absolutely no reason for anyone to think that they would suddenly leave the area. To break into their house is simply inexcusable. This family have suffered terribly in their home country, and in 2002 felt compelled to leave home, family and friends, in fear of their lives, to seek asylum in this so-called civilised country. They genuinely fear for their lives should they be forced to return to their country of origin. How can we claim to be a just and caring society when we allow this sort of thing to happen? This family were already in a state of great anxiety and under enormous stress. This action has only made things far worse for them.

Hopefully we can get some kind of action from the church on these kind of attrocities that are happening right across the country.

1 comment:

andrew said...

hi - you left a post on the home blog expressing intrest in a discussion group - the next one is this sunday at 7pm in crookes see for details