International Positional Statement

Refugees and Asylum Seekers

This International Positional Statement is intended to provide information and guidance to members of The Salvation Army.

As the official position of The Salvation Army, officers and others representing The Salvation Army must speak consistent with the position.

It is understood, however, that individual Salvationists may hold different views on some subjects and acceptance of position is not essential to membership.

The Salvation Army also recognises that non-members may not share the same perspective and does not discriminate or condemn those who do not hold the same beliefs or exclude them from attending our church services, working for us or receiving our support.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Statement of position

The Salvation Army is gravely concerned for the needs of the millions of people who are refugees and asylum seekers. People are fleeing their homes and countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution. Many of these people have experienced significant grief and trauma, which have potential long‑term consequences for their health and well-being. [1]

The Salvation Army recognises that the ability to seek asylum is a basic human right, [2] with all people having the right to life, liberty and security of person. The Salvation Army supports international efforts to eliminate persecution and displacement through the promotion of peace, tolerance, understanding and respect for human life and dignity.

God’s hospitable loving concern for the stranger and foreigner are evident in Scripture and therefore, The Salvation Army contends that individuals and governments should act compassionately and humanely towards persons seeking asylum.

The Salvation Army condemns the actions of people smugglers, human traffickers and others who would seek to gain from the plight of refugees and asylum seekers. The Salvation Army recognises the responsibilities of sovereign nations to control their borders but believes there is also a duty to care for refugees and asylum seekers. Therefore, nations working together to address the dire needs of asylum seekers is critical.

The Salvation Army holds that both asylum seekers and refugees should be offered assistance to settle and become contributing members of society as quickly as possible.

This positional statement was approved by the General in May 2016.

[1] The Salvation Army acknowledges the global issue of mass migration for many other reasons – for example, economic reasons. This statement focuses on concerns for refugees and asylum seekers.
[2] Asylum seekers are often distinguished from refugees, the term ‘refugee’ being reserved for those whose applications for asylum have been considered and granted (see the United Nations 1951 Convention on Refugees and 1967 Protocol).

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About our International Positional Statements

The International Moral and Social Issues Council (IMASIC) is the body of The Salvation Army that advises the General and recommends statements of official position on contemporary moral and social issues.

The Positional Statements are subject to periodic review, and therefore represent the considered view of The Salvation Army on a subject at a certain point in time.

For more information about IMASIC and our International Positional Statements, visit our international website.

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The Salvation Army's International Positional Statement on Caring for the Environment.

The Salvation Army's International Positional Statement on Peacemaking.

The Salvation Army's International Positional Statement on Racism.

The Salvation Army's International Positional Statement on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.