Tag Archives: compassion

Politicians Must Stop Using Asylum Seekers as Political Football

Media Release

Monday 21 February 2011

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on both the Government and the Opposition to stop using asylum seekers as political footballs.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the behaviour of both sides of politics last week over the handling of asylum seekers attending funerals of family members was deplorable and insensitive.

“Both sides of politics are clearly shaping their decisions and comments to pander to mean-spirited attitudes towards asylum seekers within the community,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is high time that all our politicians gave leadership on this issue rather than giving in to the callous, negative attitudes of some in the community,” he said.

 “Raising questions about the Government flying twenty-two asylum seekers from Christmas Island to Sydney to attend the funerals of family members on the very day of the funerals is heartless and insensitive,” he said.

“Sending nine year old Iranian orphan, Seena, back to Christmas Island instead of to family in Sydney is an equally deplorable act,” he said.

“These actions seem to have no regard or respect for the Christmas Island asylum seekers as human beings who have gone through immense trauma,” he said.

“They seem to be no more than tools to score points or get a cheap headline,” he said.

“Seena and all the other asylum seekers on Christmas Island and elsewhere in Australia deserve not only compassion, but justice,” he said.

 “All human beings, especially those who have experienced great trauma, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect as a matter of justice,” he said.

“We should not be locking up traumatised people in overcrowded facilities in remote, isolated locations with inadequate support services for long periods, as the recent Ombudsman’s report says,” he said.

 “Australia should not have a thousand children like Seena in detention if it has any sense of decency and justice,” he said.

 “Our political leaders should know better,” he said.

 “How can they speak with any authority when they criticise other countries for abusing human rights if they do not respect human rights in the way they treat asylum seekers in our own country?” he said.

 “We as Christians should be making it clear to our politicians that we want them to treat asylum seekers with compassion and justice,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to speak up for our sisters and brothers in need,” he said.

 “We should all be making it clear to our leaders and our MPs that we will not tolerate the political games we have seen over the past week,” 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.

Commission To Hand Over Death Penalty Petitions in Prayer Service

Media Release

Commission To Hand Over Death Penalty Petitions in Prayer Service

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission will deliver a death penalty abolition petition to Queensland Senator Claire Moore next Tuesday 1 July at a prayer service at Holy Cross Catholic Church, Wooloowin.

The petition has been signed by over 2000 people from parishes in the Archdiocese and from around the country.

Senator Moore will lodge the petition in the Senate at its next sitting and will seek to speak to the issue on that day.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that it was important for Catholics to continue their participation in efforts to abolish capital punishment in Indonesia and around the world.

“For those who have made a commitment to this cause, it is important to remain active in the long term,” Mr Arndt said.

“The continuing use of the death penalty around the world invites Catholics to commit to solidarity with those whose human dignity is threatened by the prospect of the death penalty being imposed and carried out,” he said.

“Solidarity is one of the four universal principles of Catholic Social Doctrine and is something which the Gospel calls us to put into practice when we see the dignity of our fellow human beings being abused,” he said.

“Solidarity is about standing with those who face the indignity of poverty or injustice and doing this in the long term,” he said.

“It also means being prepared to face unpleasant consequences as a result of this commitment,” he said.

“There are some people who strongly disagree with our opposition to the use of the death penalty in cases like those of the Bali Bombers and that of the three Australians convicted of drug offences in Bali,” he said.

“All these six men have committed very serious offences and, in fact, have been responsible for the deaths or suffering and misery of many other people,” he said.

“But the Church must defend the value of human life if it is to be faithful to the Gospel,” he said.

“Revenge and retribution cannot be in the vocabulary of Christians who follow the example of Jesus,” he said.

“Those who have done serious wrong must face serious consequences, but this should not include death at the hands of the State,” he said.

“The Commission will continue to offer opportunities for more action on the death penalty and especially at the time when our petition is lodged in the Senate,” he said.

“We have had contact with members of the cross-Party parliamentary Working Group working on the death penalty and they are very keen to support our efforts,” he added.

The Commission’s death penalty prayer service will begin at 7.30 p.m. at Holy Cross Church, 28 Chalk Street, Wooloowin. All are welcome.

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. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.