A call for safe, humane and dignified treatment of refugees and those seeking asylum

“Our globe is increasingly criss-crossed by journeys of people in often desperate pursuit of safety and sanctuary: adults and children in flight from war, tyranny, persecution and other evils or seeking a life free from extreme poverty, hunger and deprivation.

In a context where the UK and a number of other countries are looking at tightening borders and immigration laws, we call attention to the importance of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol and to observance of this. There will be differing views on particular policies and their implementation and the factors that have to be taken into account. In all cases, however, the response should aim to reflect the best of our humanity.

It is, at this time, for example, a matter of deep concern to us that a policy of ‘push back’ of boats in the channel has been adopted. Regardless of care taken in exercise of the policy, there would be significant dangers both to those ‘pushed back’ and to the Border Force personnel called upon to implement it. We call upon the Government to seek alternative approaches to deal with the crossings.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK has, since its inception, worked to promote good inter faith relations, including through raising awareness of the common ground of the different faith communities, such as fundamental values that are shared. Among these values are those such as justice and compassion and the fundamental principle of treating others as we would ourselves be treated: the ‘golden rule’.

Drawing on the common values at the heart of our different and distinct faith traditions we call for safe, humane and dignified treatment of refugees and those seeking asylum.”

11 October 2021

1. Media queries to the Inter Faith Network: email ifnet@interfaith.org.uk.
2. This statement can be found at http://interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages and a copy of IFN’s statement making policy at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf.
3. The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.
4. Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at www.interfaith.org.uk/members.
5. IFN member National Faith Community Representative Bodies meet together as the Faith Communities Forum of IFN. More information can be found at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/about/faith-communities-forum.
6. The Act of Commitment, developed by the UK’s faith communities with IFN at the time of the Millennium, is one expression of key values held in common: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/act-of-commitment.
7. Information about the 1951 UN Convention and its 1967 Protocol can be found at https://www.unhcr.org/uk/1951-refugee-convention.html.
8. The definition of a ‘refugee’ according to The 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees is: “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.”
9. In 2020 there were 29,815 applications for asylum in the UK (not including dependants). In the UK, a person becomes a refugee when government agrees that an individual who has applied for asylum meets the definition in the Refugee Convention.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK
2 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0DH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7730 0410
Email: ifnet@interfaith.org.uk
Web: www.interfaith.org.uk



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Company limited by guarantee no. 3443823 Registered in England.

Women Do Count – A Woman’s Perspective on the Climate Emergency

Through our ecumenical partners in the Religious Society of Friends we have been given notice of a conference taking place in Edinburgh on 3rd November during COP26 focussing on A Women’s Perspective on the Climate Change. You can download the conference details and an accompanying booklet below:

Conference poster & programme

Women Do Count – Click here to download this booklet



Scottish Interfaith Week – Together for Our Planet 31st Oct – 7th Nov 2021

Scottish Interfaith Week is taking place from 31st October – 7th November. This year the theme is ‘Together for Our Planet’ and the week will coincide with COP26 (United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021) in Glasgow. We are encouraging individuals, faith communities, local interfaith groups and organisations across Scotland to host climate-related events for the week.
We produce a Scottish Interfaith Week e-newsletter which has already been providing regular updates about the week. If you have not done so already, I would be very grateful if you could sign up to receive the e-newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/c8QCIX
Here is some more information about Scottish Interfaith Week which I hope you find helpful:
Activity Ideas
You can find ideas for running climate-themed events for adults and for young people at the link here: https://scottishinterfaithweek.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Resources-and-ideas-for-event-planning-Scottish-Interfaith-Week-2021.pdf
You can also check out our Climate Action Resources page on the Interfaith Scotland website for more ideas here: https://interfaithscotland.org/climate-action-resources
Youth and Schools Competition
The theme for this year’s competition for young people is how to make religious festivals more eco-friendly. Submissions should be made by 14thOctober and all the details of the competition can be found on the SIFW website at:
Posters, Logos and Photos
I have attached a new SIFW logo to this email designed in green to highlight this year’s theme, and also an image incorporating details of the week with photos which could be used for posters you might want to create for your events. Readymade posters are also available at the link below:
If you are advertising SIFW on Facebook, Instagram or twitter you may be aware that you need differently sized images for each of these mediums. We have cut down the hard work by creating images to fit each of these which you can find at the link below. Do check them out!


If you would like your event to be included in the programme of events please upload it onto the SIFW website at the link here: http://scottishinterfaithweek.org/submit-an-event.

Events can be added online right up until Scottish Interfaith Week and these will appear in the list of events online. If you have any questions about this or any problems please email my colleagues at info@scottishinterfaithweek.org

Social Media
Just to remind you we have a separate Scottish Interfaith Week social media accounts which you can access at the following links: FacebookTwitterInstagram
If I can be of any assistance over the coming weeks do please be in touch.
Best wishes
National Development Officer
Interfaith Scotland
Flemington House
110 Flemington Street
Glasgow G21 4BF


Scottish College Annual Service

The Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College, or as it will become known, The Scottish College (Congregational and United Reformed), will meet at Helensburgh URC for the College Annual Service starting at 7:30pm.

Our guest preacher at this service will be The Revd Tom Wilson, Chair, Congregational Federation in Scotland

Please let us know if you wish to join us, especially if you plan to attend in person.

A Synod Ecumenical Policy

Dear friends,

following discussion at workshops held earlier this year the Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations Task Group is proposing to bring a revised paper on ecumenical relations to the next Synod Meeting.

Please read the following document and feel free to make any responses to me that may be helpful.

Synod Ecumenical Principles June 2 2021


Yours aye

John S. Bremner B.D., M.Th.,
Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Officer,
United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland