Wales

Archbishop of Wales' injustice call in Christmas message

John Davies is the new Archbishop of Wales Image copyright Church in Wales

Action is needed to tackle starvation, ethnic cleansing and human trafficking, the new Archbishop of Wales has said in his first Christmas message.

The Most Rev John Davies was elected in September after the retirement of Dr Barry Morgan.

He also had concerns over "monstrously" overcrowded prisons, a struggling health service and tax evasion.

And Mr Davies wants to see "open-minded conversations" from world leaders instead of "confrontational" styles.

"We are painfully aware that, from around the world, message alerts ring out loud and clear, with the profoundly moral call for action in the face of need and injustice," he said.

"In far-away places, but brought into our homes by news media, thousands upon thousands of children and adults, in places like Yemen and the Congo, die of easily preventable disease and for lack of food in a world with more food than it needs."

Elsewhere, he said people were "driven to become refugees and slaves as the victims of human traffickers, while others are simply slaughtered because of their race, religion or ethnicity".

Mr Davies added the environment had been taken for granted over the years but has reached "a critical point, beyond which there might well be no return unless the warning signs are taken seriously".

"And some examples much closer to home - homelessness stalks the streets of many of our cities, food banks often struggle to provide, universal credit, a seemingly good idea but so clumsily introduced, has left many families income-less for too long".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A cholera outbreak in Yemen peaked in June, when some 50,000 suspected cases were reported in one week

He said action to fix these problems would cost money: "How many of the needs in our own nation and our ability to contribute to answering needs elsewhere, arise because of shortage of funding, the demands of austerity and consequent pressure on budgets?

"Welfare, social care and social services, NHS, prisons, homelessness - all and more - are apparently short of funds at a time when we can still find in excess of £30bn to the EU to fulfil our contractual obligations. I'm a bit perplexed.

"Yet, the bottom-line is that, if we do not want to just to hear, but to act on the message, it will cost."

He called for a fairer tax regime and realistic budgeting and "not pretending" continued cuts was the answer.

A service at Brecon Cathedral on Christmas Day starts at 11:00 GMT.

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