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British bishops urge government to fulfill obligations to refugees

The Catholic bishops in England and Wales have urged the British government to fulfill its obligations under the 1951 US convention on refugees.

The bishops said last week that Britain has a proud tradition of providing sanctuary to asylum seekers but that there is "evident tension" between the right of people to seek asylum and the right of the government to regulate the admission of foreigners.

Recently published government figures for 2002 showed more than 85,000 applications for asylum in the UK.

"The government has to ensure that these additional demands do not overstretch the services available to the local communities," the bishops said.

They said that the focus of the asylum system should be on rapid, quality decisions with early provision for legal advice, interpretation services, an accessible appeals procedure and, where necessary, judicial review.

Catholic News Service

Catholic Church in England and Wales | Towards a fair, efficient and humane asylum system

8 May 2003