Statement on the passing of the Illegal Migration Bill

The Justice and Peace Co-ordinating Council endorses the words of the Jesuit Refugee service (JRS) in condemning the Government’s passing of the Illegal Migration Bill on 17 July. As the JRS says “This Bill represents a ban on claiming asylum and contravenes the Refugee Convention. It will mean men, women, and children are incarcerated on a massive scale. It will leave hundreds and thousands in limbo for years on end. It will strip modern slavery survivors of protections and empower traffickers. And it has been forced through parliament at breakneck speed, avoiding scrutiny wherever possible. This Bill is anti-refugee, it is anti-human.

The Justice and Peace Co-ordinating Council believes the Asylum system in the UK is not working; we believe that claims need to be processed fairly and quickly and there needs to be safe routes for people to come to this country to claim asylum. The Illegal Migration Bill does nothing to promote this.

We had been slightly encouraged that, for now, the proposed attempt to place people seeking asylum in barges on the Tyne has been stopped, but sadly the barges are going ahead in Portland.

Click here to visit the Illegal Migration Bill page.

Click here to visit the Jesuit Refugee Service UK website.

Prayer Vigil at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre (DIRC)

It will soon be two years since we started to hold in person prayer vigils at the Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre, Medomsley on the first Sunday of each month at 3.00pm. It is a powerful witness; we have between 25 and 35 people attending each month. The vigils are inter-faith with people from other Christian traditions as well as a group of people from the Jewish faith participating. We believe detaining women who are asking for a safe place to live goes against our faith. We are asked to welcome the stranger and feed the hungry.

The vigils last about 45 minutes and as well as praying, we offer some practical support by donating cash for phone cards and toiletries, which are then made into welcome packs and taken into the centre by another charity, “Friendship Across Borders”. We also take flowers to hand over to the guards who take them into the communal areas of the centre.

Our next vigil will be on Sunday 6 August 2023 at 3.00pm at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre, Medomsley DH8 6QY. It would be wonderful if you could join us there, but if not, perhaps you would consider joining us in prayer from home. The revised prayer vigil booklet can be found here.

Please contact Liz Archibald by email: if you would like more information.

For more information around the issues of refugees and asylum seekers, please look at our webpage.

Diocesan Environment Group ‘Season of Creation: Rivers of Justice’ Webinar

We would also like to give you advance notice of an online event which is being organised by the Diocesan Environment Group to mark the Season of Creation which will take place via Zoom at 10.00 – 11.30am on Saturday 30 September 2023. We will be reflecting on the Season of Creation, progress made over the last few months, sharing good practice in our Schools and Parishes, looking ahead plus a Q&A session with members of the DEG.

Bishop Stephen has confirmed he is able to attend to give the opening address and participate in the event, including the Q&A session.

Publicity will be sent out including how to register, etc., but please do put this date in your diary.

The National Justice & Peace Network Conference report has been published.

Our Network is needed more than ever before,” Sir John Battle told last weekend’s annual conference of the National Justice and Peace Network of England and Wales. In a talk entitled, ‘Advocacy and Faith Action’, he said, “we need to shift from charitable action to challenging the causes of injustice in line with the preferential option for the poor.

Click here to read more.