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Church will play its part in helping Syrian refugees, bishop tells minister

Bishop Patrick Lynch with Richard Harrington MP (http://www.catholicnews.org.uk)

Bishop Patrick Lynch has met with the minister responsible for Syrian refugees in order to reaffirm the Church’s support for efforts to accommodate people fleeing the conflict in the country and discuss the Government’s resettlement scheme.

Bishop Lynch, chair of the Office for Migration Policy at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, met with Richard Harrington MP on Monday and after the meeting he said that he was “pleased to reassure the minister that we will play our part.”

“The UK has rightly taken responsibility for resettling some of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in addition to its significant support for those sheltering in neighbouring countries. The one thousand people who have already arrived now have an opportunity to rebuild their lives in safety and security,” Bishop Lynch said.

“I was grateful for the open and constructive conversation with Mr Harrington about some of the challenges ahead, such as making sure that no one is prevented from registering for the scheme and that everyone who arrives is properly supported as they settle into their new neighbourhoods. We also discussed the problems faced by Syrian Christian refugees and the steps being taken to include them in the scheme.”

He added: “The minister is clearly committed to providing practical help to vulnerable refugees. The Catholic community in England and Wales also has a responsibility to provide practical assistance wherever possible and always to extend the hand of welcome.”

Last week, a delegation led by Bishop Declan Lang, of Clifton visited refugees in Jordan, where more than one million Syrians and Iraqis have sought shelter.

Today, a UN report has revealed “staggering levels of violence” committed by ISIS against the people of Iraq, including Christians and other religious minorities.