Monday 2 July 2007
Commission Urges Continued Action on Refugees
Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to continue promoting dignity and justice for refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that some refugee advocacy groups had “gone quiet” in the last year and the Commission is concerned that this may give the impression that there are no outstanding concerns about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
“A lot of energy was put into campaigning for fairness and dignity for asylum seekers and refugees since 2001 and we cannot blame those who have put so much work into this campaign if they have a rest,” Mr Arndt said.
“However, despite some improvements, there are still concerns about our country’s handling of asylum seekers and refugees,” he said.
“The Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes, reminded us recently that there are a number of continuing human rights concerns which should be dealt with,” he said.
Mr Inn called for:
- Abolition of the mandatory detention of asylum seekers which breaches our human rights obligationses
- Review of The “Pacific Solution” which enables the indefinite detention of some asylum seekers on Nauru without access to free legal advice, judicial review of their claims or independent scrutiny of their conditions
- Abolition of temporary protection visas which prevent refugees from having certainty about their future
- Review of the conditions of bridging visas which subject asylum seekers to poverty and deprivation while waiting for decisions on their protection applications
“We are aware that there are also many concerns about the resettlement process once people have been accepted as refugees,” Mr Arndt said.
“The Gospel reminds us that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that this gives every person a dignity which we ought to respect and defend,” Mr Arndt said.
“Policies and practices which create more suffering and pain for asylum seekers and refugees should be challenged if we are to be faithful to this message,” he said.
“We are grateful to all those Catholics who have worked for justice and dignity for asylum seekers and refugees in recent years and hope that Catholics everywhere will continue to be strong supporters of the dignity of people who come to our shores seeking protection from persecution and violence,” he said.
“The Commission will endeavour to support Catholics who wanted to work on these matters in the coming months,” he said.
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. Its views do not necessarily represent those of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.