Monthly Archives: March 2011

Government Must Change Detention Policy

Monday 21 March 2011

Government Must Change Detention Policy

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission urged the Federal Government to abandon policies which detain asylum seekers and refugees in remote locations for prolonged periods.

The call was made following recent protests and violent incidents in a number of the Government’s immigration detention centres.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Government’s policies are adding to the suffering of deeply traumatised people and contributing to a grave injustice.

 

“The Government’s insistence on detaining asylum seekers in remote, overcrowded locations for prolonged periods is simply outrageous,” Mr Arndt said.

 

“These are people who have suffered much before they get here and, when they arrive here to seek protection, they are subjected to prolonged and harsh treatment which can only add to their stress and anxiety,” he said.

 

“The Government’s requirement that people who have been accepted as refugees must wait for long periods in these dreadful detention centres for ASIO security clearances is a totally unnecessary further impost,” he said.

 

“If we are happy to let tourists and students come into our country without locking them up awaiting a security clearance, why can’t we let these genuine refugees out into the community while these clearances are sought?” he said.

 

“Is it any wonder that people who are already mentally fragile and stressed react to this seriously unjust processing regime with protests and riots?” he said.

 

“Add to this the fact that there are still many children locked up in these centres exposed to all this anger and violence and you have an appalling state of affairs,” he said.

 

“The last thing we need is detention centre staff and police using force to respond to the frustration and anger of detained refugees,” he said.

 

“The people locked up in these centres have only exercised their right to seek protection from persecution and what they have been subjected to in return is a deplorable abuse of their human rights,” he said.

 

“The Government’s policies are to blame for what has happened on Christmas Island, at Curtin and Weipa, not the refugees,” he said.

 

“The Government is subjecting asylum seekers and refugees to the prolonged, mandatory detention which it said it would end even though it knows this causes more mental stress and anguish for asylum seekers,” he said.

 

“We urge the Government to stop using and building detention centres in remote areas, to stop detaining mentally fragile and traumatised people for prolonged periods, to stop the use of violence to deal with detainees’ frustrations and complaints and to stop detaining children in these centres,” he said.

 

“Justice demands that the claims of asylum seekers be processed speedily and in accordance with the provisions of all the international human rights conventions and that all claimants be treated with respect and dignity while their claims are processed,” he said.

 

“This is not happening in Australia now and it must stop,” 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 Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

 

Lenten Call for Ecological Conversion

Monday 14 March 2011

 

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane in Flood 2011 Tony Robertson

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged Catholics to be open to the possibility of ecological conversion during Lent.

Pope John Paul II called for an “ecological conversion” in 1990 when he reflected on the significant environmental challenges facing the world today

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Pope Benedict has continued to call for Christians to respond to the environmental challenges threatening the world, especially climate change.

 

Lent is a time of repentance and it is a good time for us Christians to reflect on how we and our lifestyles have contributed to the ecological damage and threats the world faces today,” Mr Arndt said.p>

 

“As we make more time to pray and reflect on scripture, we can take the opportunity to consider to what extent we are wedded to the consumerist culture which dominates our society and contributes significantly to the ecological damage our earth has suffered,” he said.

 

“Our fasting, too, can take many forms,” he said.

 

“Not only can we give up some food during Lent, but we could also consider giving up some of the practices which release carbon into the atmosphere,” he said.

 

“Consciously reducing some of the activities and practices which use electricity or petrol can help us to find a path to spiritual renewal which embraces care for the earth,” he said.

 

“Lent can be an important opportunity for us to draw closer to God who created the world and to our sisters and brothers who are already facing the consequences of dangerous climate change,” he said.

 

“God is constantly inviting us to draw closer to our neighbours including Pacific Islanders whose homes are being threatened by rising sea levels and to support them in their time of need,” he said.

 

“Embracing the challenge to care for the earth certainly means changing the way we live,” he said.

 

“It also requires us to be prophets who challenge the dominant consumerist culture in our society and the political, business and community leaders who maintain it,” he said.

 

“If we care for the earth and our brothers and sisters in every part of it, we must not only change our own behaviour, but also challenge our leaders to change their behaviour too,” he said.

 

“In the face of the serious threat posed by dangerous climate change, we cannot stay silent while our political and business leaders engage in political games which do not have the best interests of the earth and its people in mind,” he said.

 

“Let’s turn away from our own destructive behaviours and have the courage to also call on our society to turn away from approaches which threaten our world with even greater damage,” 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 Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.