Have we forgotten the need for sanctuary?

TWO events are being held in Scotland this weekend to highlight the plight of asylum seekers in this country.

As a direct result of the tragic suicide at Red Road flats in Glasgow of a Russian family seeking asylum, the Red Road Residents march and rally will be held tomorrow, beginning at 11am at 63 Peterhill Drive  and congregating at 12 noon at Glasgow City Chambers.


The Mother’s Day Solidarity gathering at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre, where a number of asylum seekers who have been unsuccessful in their applications and are held with their families—including young children, will take place on Sunday at 1pm. A member of the Justice and Peace Commission, a commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, will speak at the event. Flowers, sweets and other gifts will be handed in for all mothers who are incarcerated inside as well as gifts for the other detainees.


Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said this week that he is ‘appalled at the treatment of asylum seekers.’

“The tragic case of the Russian family who jumped to their deaths from the Red Road Flats last weekend is a unique case but serves as a terrible reminder of the anguish faced, on a daily basis, by asylum seekers in the city,” the archbishop said. “I have been appalled time and time again at the way refugees, after several years residence here, are suddenly deported.

“We must constantly examine our conscience as a society and ask whether we are fully respecting the dignity of the human beings who find their way to our shores.”

John Wilkes, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, told the SCO that the Church plays a vital and multi-layered role in helping asylum seekers—offering practical help, spiritual guidance, community support and raising the profile of the issues facing people seeking sanctuary in this country.


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