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Refugee crisis: Archbishop warns of 'lack of imagination'

Published 24/12/2015

People 'are fleeing persecution and death in Syria and Afghanistan, where British involvement is certainly in part responsible for the crisis', the archbishop will say
People 'are fleeing persecution and death in Syria and Afghanistan, where British involvement is certainly in part responsible for the crisis', the archbishop will say

Rows about the number of refugees allowed into the UK shows a lack of humanity, the Archbishop of Wales will say in his Christmas sermon.

Britain has lost its sense of proportion in relation to the crisis - which has seen people flee Syria and Afghanistan before making dangerous journeys across Europe, Dr Barry Morgan will say.

He believes the UK's agreement to take in just 20,000 over five years shows a lack of imagination and urges politicians to put themselves in the shoes of others.

"The debate seems to be centred on how many refugees we should accept. We forget to ask or perhaps we choose to forget why there are so many refugees in the first place.

"As one Somali poet puts it, 'why does a mother put her children at risk in a flimsy dinghy on the open sea? It is because she believes the sea is safer than the land'.

"These are people fleeing persecution and death in Syria and Afghanistan where British involvement is certainly in part responsible for the crisis.

"Meanwhile, Jordan and Lebanon have four million people in refugee camps and we quibble about 20,000. Is not that a failure of imagination on our part?

"And where is our sense of proportion? Five hundred million people live in the European Union - only 350,000 refugees have fled - less than a tenth of one percent of the total population of Europe."

The Archbishop delivers his sermon at Llandaff Cathedral on Christmas Day.

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