Defending Refugees

Catholic bishops in Germany and Austria have urged their countries to continue accepting refugees, despite demands for new restrictions after violence on New Year’s Eve in Cologne and other cities. “We need a reduction in numbers, but fixing an upper limit would be difficult,” Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier told the daily paper Trierischer Volksfreund Jan. 27. “We also need flexibility. But it’s up to politicians to say how this can be achieved in practice, and it can’t be done only at a national level,” he said. Some Germans have called for a cap on refugees, following violent incidents involving people newly arrived from Syria and other countries. Meanwhile, the German church’s special representative for refugees said he believed a cap would violate the Geneva Convention and Germany’s Basic Law. “Christians cannot allow people who’ve faced untold suffering and are needing help to encounter closed borders,” Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg told German media.

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