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Archbishop: Asylum seekers receive inhumane treatment

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow has called on the UK Government to show compassion to men and women seeking asylum saying the way they are treated is ‘inhumane.’

At a special event at the archdiocesan offices on Tuesday, the archbishop signed a public petition against the forced destitution of refused asylum seekers in the city of Glasgow.

“I am very glad to welcome you here to the offices of the Archdiocese today,” the archbishop said. “In a way, I am sorry that we have to engage in such efforts, because they are only necessary due to the inhumane situation that is manifesting itself on our doorstep.”

The archbishop said he was not ‘an expert in the detail of immigration policy’ but rather was speaking as a ‘Christian leader, representing a Church which has a noble tradition of care for the most vulnerable.’

“I think most decent minded people would find it hard to believe, let alone support, a policy which decides that when an asylum seeking person’s process comes to an end unsuccessfully, they should lose all support in terms of housing and sustenance and be expected to return to what they perceive to be a dangerous situation of persecution, or survive on the freezing and inhospitable streets, totally dependent on the compassion of others to survive,” he said. “I find it hard to comprehend that degree of harshness.”

The archbishop also said he knew ‘the city council and the Scottish Parliament have already expressed their unhappiness at the UK Government’s proposals for dealing with refused asylum seekers’ and he was proud to  ‘add my name to the list of those who share that concern and I invite others to do the same.’

The event was organised by the Stop Destitution campaign, which was launched in October this year by the Scottish Refugee Council and the Refugee Survival Trust.

The campaign calls for an end to the deliberate UK Government policy of making asylum seekers destitute by stopping their support when their claim is refused.


Caption: Archbishop Tartaglia with Gary Christie of the Scottish Refugee Council and Dje Bruno Masahi from the Ivory Coast who was destitute for two years


Pic: Paul McSherry

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