Support refugee event with Lord Dubs

oasis-foundation

Join Oasis on the 9th December to listen to Lord Dubs and show your support for refugees:

At Oasis we care passionately about every human being and recently had the privilege of running a safe house that gave sanctuary and security to young refugees who crossed the channel.  We are proud that the UK has been involved in the response to this crisis – but we believe more needs to be done.

The UK Government has pledged to provide sanctuary for a significant number of child refugees but this is now in doubt.

Join Oasis and Lord Dubs – former refugee and author of the amendment compelling Government to help refugees – to take a public stand for a compassionate solution to the crisis and to help the countless children still stranded near the beaches of France.

The event will be a chance to hear from Lord Dubs about what he believes the Government needs to do, to debate and discuss the issues and join together to show our support for refugees.

  • DATE: Friday 9th December 2016
  • TIME: 19.30 – 21.00
  • LOCATION: The Oasis Centre, London SE1 7QP

To book your free ticket, click here:

https://oasis.foundation/events/act-now-refugees-event-lord-dubs

Refugees’ lifejackets have been turned into a ‘graveyard’ outside parliament

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More than 2,500 lifejackets that were actually worn by migrants who crossed from Turkey into Europe were placed in front of the U.K.’s Parliament today to raise further awareness about the global migrant and refugee crisis. The project was created by various charity and humanitarian groups to correspond with a meeting of world leaders at the U.N. to discuss the ongoing crisis.

This year alone so far, at least 3,212 refugees and migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.  Deaths are occurring more frequently this year than in 2015, according to the most recent figures reported by the International Organization for Migration.

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The installation — which was supported by refugee charities — intends to remind leaders of “the need for solidarity with refugees” and to encourage “international responsibility sharing”.

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Faith leaders call for revised refugee policy

 

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More than 200 leaders of faith communities have signed an open letter to the Prime Minister, Theresa May calling for urgent changes to the government’s refugee policy, particularly to allow families to be reunited.

The signatories are headed by Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury, who will give a speech on Monday in front of an audience of faith leaders and refugees to reiterate the letter’s demands.

Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, the former lord justice of appeal, has added her name to the letter, which is also signed by leaders and representatives of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist communities.

The interfaith letter follows similar initiatives by 350 judges and lawyers, who wrote to the then prime minister, David Cameron, last October; 120 senior economists in January; and 27 humanitarian and refugee organisations, also in January.

Refugees’ life jackets are transformed into message of peace on Greek island

A bright orange peace sign appeared on a hillside on the Greek island of Lesbos on New Year’s Day, transforming a growing pile of life jackets discarded by refugees arriving on the island into a message to the world.

Dozens of Greenpeace and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) volunteers and local supporters teamed up to create the massive peace sign Friday on a hillside overlooking the small strait between Greece and Turkey that has become a main passageway for those fleeing to Europe.

Made up of more than 3,000 life jackets and built by dozens of volunteers, the sign is a way to honor those who have made the journey and to urge peace in the new year, according to Greenpeace.

Those involved in the project are calling for safe passage to those fleeing war, poverty and oppression.

Thousands of people arrive on the island of Lesbos daily, packed into flimsy rubber dinghies and wooden fishing boats. Most are refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Africa.

More than 1 million migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in the past 12 months. Another 3,700 people perished in the sea last year while attempting the crossing.

Refugee life jackets

The island of Lesbos in particular has seen a huge influx of people, in part because of its close proximity to the nearby Turkish coastline. More than 500,000 people arrived on the island in 2015 alone, but the small community has also been the site of unspeakable tragedies as some fail to make it safely to shore.

In October and November, so many bodies had washed up on Lesbos that the local morgue ran out of space to house the dead. Tragic scenes played out weekly as ad hoc rescue efforts led by local and international volunteers were unable to deal with the sheer scale of new arrivals.

As those who do manage to make it to shore quickly move further on into Europe, their life jackets stay behind as a growing reminder of the movement of people through the area, as well as the lives that have been lost.

The life jackets have been slowly piling up in a dump on the island, near the town of Molyvos. The peace sign was created on a hillside overlooking the dump.

Archbishop of Canterbury: “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring”.

Refugees

The Archbishop of Canterbury writes, “ We all benefit from the gifts that refugees bring” in The Big Issue:

The scale of the problem we are facing as a global human family is astonishing. More than half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean and Aegean so far this year. They are fleeing war, persecution and deprivation in Syria and Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, and other countries.

As the number of people arriving in Europe continues to rise, nearly 3,000 people making the journey have drowned like Aylan or gone missing. My experience, having worked in this area for many years, is that you very seldom meet people who want to be refugees.

It is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is deathIt is a desperate, awful, terrible existence. You leave home when the alternative is death. In the Levant and Mesopotamia, families are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They are taking the deep blue sea, and taking their children with them.

… The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many others.

So as Christians we’re not just raising our voices – we are doing what the church always does: putting the love of Christ into action. Those Calais-bound cars were just the beginning: there is so much more to be done.

Lifeboat Prayers – Praying for the refugee crisis with young people

prayer_spaces_logoDuring 2015, many thousands of refugees risked their lives (and many others lost their lives) as they sailed across the Mediterranean Sea in small boats. People do desperate things when their lives are in unimaginable danger.

This activity encourages students to think about refugees who are leaving their homes and precious possessions behind in order to escape danger. It encourages them to think about themselves, to reflect on their own homes and possessions and opportunities, and to imagine what it would feel like to lose almost everything.

Read more on the Prayer Spaces in Schools website.

Archbishop of Canterbury on the refugee crisis

In a statement on the refugee crisis facing Europe and the Middle East, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby, said today:

Justin Welby

“This is a hugely complex and wicked crisis that underlines our human frailty and the fragility of our political systems. My heart is broken by the images and stories of men, women and children who have risked their lives to escape conflict, violence and persecution.

“There are no easy answers and my prayers are with those who find themselves fleeing persecution, as well as those who are struggling under immense pressure to develop an effective and equitable response. Now, perhaps more than ever in post-war Europe, we need to commit to joint action across Europe, acknowledging our common responsibility and our common humanity.

“As Christians we believe we are called to break down barriers, to welcome the stranger and love them as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34), and to seek the peace and justice of our God, in our world, today.

“With winter fast approaching and with the tragic civil war in Syria spiralling further out of control, we must all be aware that the situation could yet worsen significantly.

“I am encouraged by the positive role that churches, charities and international agencies are already playing, across Europe and in Syria and the surrounding areas, to meet basic humanitarian needs. These efforts may feel trivial in the face of the challenge, but if we all play our part this is a crisis that we can resolve.

“We need a holistic response to this crisis that meets immediate humanitarian need while tackling itsunderlying drivers. I commend the UK Government for its strong commitment to the world’s poorest people through the delivery of the aid budget. It has shown global leadership by providing £900 million in aid since 2012 to the crisis in Syria. It has also shown moral leadership in using Royal Navy ships to save the lives of hundreds who have tried to make the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean.

“I hold in my heart particularly those who are most vulnerable in conflict, and those who we have a special duty to protect. In the past, the Government has rightly sought to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied children, women and those who have been victims of, or are at risk of, sexual violence. I welcome this, while urging a renewed commitment to taking in the most vulnerable.

“The Church has always been a place of sanctuary for those in need, and Churches in the UK and across Europe have been meeting the need they are presented with. I reaffirm our commitment to the principle of sanctuary for those who require our help and love.

“The people of these islands have a long and wonderful history of offering shelter and refuge, going back centuries – whether it be Huguenot Christians, Jewish refugees, Ugandan Asians, Vietnamese boat people or many, many more.

“It has always been controversial at the time it happened, always been seen as too difficult. Yet each time we have risen to the challenge and our country has been blessed by the result.

“We cannot turn our backs on this crisis. We must respond with compassion. But we must also not be naïve in claiming to have the answers to end it. It requires a pan-European response – which means a commitment to serious-minded diplomatic and political debate, but not at the expense of practical action that meets the immediate needs of those most in need of our help.”

Listen to Archbishop Justin Welby speaking to the BBC about the refugee crisis