Bishop of Dover speaks of ‘human tragedy’

Bishop Trevor has issued this statement.

17 October 2016

Statement on Calais

Given the imminent dismantling of the Calais ‘jungle’ and the situation of unaccompanied children in the camp, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott, Bishop of Dover, has issued this statement:

The human tragedy that is the Calais ‘jungle’ camp has been a constant cause for concern and prayer in the Diocese. Being but a few miles from our own coastline, its devastating impact on those that live and volunteer there, the local French community, lorry drivers and port workers, holiday-makers and security staff, has been impossible to ignore.

Although clearly an intolerable situation, news of its imminent dismantling does little to dispel concern for everyone involved. Our prayer now is that the clearance process be carried out with humanity and in the recognition of the human dignity of each person present. We acknowledge too the need for swift and urgent protection for the many unaccompanied young people and children present in the camp who are now faced with increased danger.

The situation is very fluid and we are working with a number of organisations both locally and in France to whom we can respond immediately when required. Please also consider taking up some of the actions advocated by our colleagues at Samphire or visit our Refugee Toolkit.

While attending to the needs of the stranger can seem particularly difficult when so many within our own communities are struggling, it is a dilemma that is not going to go away, and how we care for our fellow human cuts to the core of all us. Now then is perhaps another opportunity for us to engage, to find out more, and see if we can find within ourselves the courage, when faced with the stranger, to reach out to them with compassion.

Prayer for Refugees
Almighty and merciful God
whose Son became a refugee
and had no place to call his own;
Look with mercy on those who today
are fleeing from danger,
loveless and hungry.
Bless those who work to bring them relief;
inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
and guide the nations of the world towards that day
when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and peace.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord

Amen

(Bishop Trevor)