The Bishop of Gozo, Mgr Mario Grech, has sharply criticised the detention policy for migrants whose only crime is escaping persecution in their country.

“The time has come to ask ourselves in all honesty: Is it possible that a civilised country such as ours, having the values we think we are defined by, sees nothing wrong in keeping locked in detention women and men who committed no crime and who are only here because they are seeking another country’s protection?” Mgr Grech said.

The Bishop made his comments during a celebration to mark Our Lady of Sorrows in Victoria last night.

“What society are we building now and for future generations when, blinded by prejudice, we depict as enemies or threats to national security people who need protection?”

Mgr Grech called for an “honest, sincere and level-headed assessment” of the current policy.

He said long-term detention as applied in Malta led asylum-seekers to mental breakdown and did not prepare them to look benevolently upon the society in which they were to live until the time came when they were able to return to their country or to move on.

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