Jeremy Corbyn says Easter should prompt fresh focus on refugee crisis

Posted On: 
21st April 2019

Easter should prompt a renewed focus on the world's refugee crisis, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

The Labour leader said Christianity could yield 'new hope and new aspirations'.
Credit: 
PA

In a message to mark the religious holiday, the Labour leader said Britain could boast "a proud history of providing a safe refuge to those in need".

But he blasted the Government for taking a tough line on migration, including during a high-profile row earlier this year about people trying to cross the English Channel.

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Mr Corbyn said the UK now faced "a great moral test" in the face of surging numbers of refugees around the world.

"Jesus went on to know what it was to be ostracised, rejected and tortured," Mr Corbyn said.

"A family forced to flee their homeland for fear of persecution.

"Sadly, this is still so familiar to us today. There are 68 million refugees across the world, more people than have ever before been forced to flee persecution, war and abject poverty."

And the Labour leader added: "The refugee crisis is a moral test. Jesus taught us to respect refugees.

"He himself said 'welcome the stranger'. And the Bible says 'the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born'.

"In Britain, we have a proud history of providing a safe refuge to those in need.

"But this government refuses to meet our legal obligations to child refugees in Europe as required by the Dubs Amendment."

The Dubs Amendment commits the UK to relocating and supporting unaccompanied refugee children from other EU countries.

Mr Corbyn said: "At the end of last year as refugees tried to cross the Channel, [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid threatened to deploy the Navy.

"But in response the Bishop of Dover said 'it is crucial that we all remember we are dealing with human beings here'."

The Labour leader heaped praise on churches for their work to support refugees, saying such institutions had shown "true leadership".

Mr Corbyn said: "So at this time of new hope and new aspirations we can learn from Christian values and offer the hand of friendship to welcome those in need."

The Labour leader's Easter message came after Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote to a string of Christian groups in a bid to express solidarity with persecuted communities around the world.