I will be at the Pontville Anglican Church, St Mark’s, tomorrow for worship and fellowship. The sermon will be based on my ‘Friday Forum’ presentation at St David’s Cathedral in May : Asylum seekers: A Christian approach.
It will also be an opportunity to further discuss the hospitality and support the Churches and the wider community are planning for the asylum seekers. The first asylum seekers arrived yesterday at the Pontville detention centre on the Rifle Range road (it tells a story of our insensitivity – but that’s an issue I’ve discussed before, here), see the asylum seekers’ arrival reported, here.
I joined with other Church leaders in signing and thereby affirming the following statement following the High Court ruling on the ‘Malaysia Solution’.
Australian Churches Call for a Humane Bipartisan Approach for Asylum Seekers
The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) welcomes the High Court ruling that overturns the Government’s Malaysia ‘solution’ and calls for a humane bipartisan approach for asylum seekers and refugees.
“The churches have repeatedly called for a bipartisan approach concerning refugees and asylum seekers which ensures that we fulfil our international obligations to a high standard and enhances Australia’s reputation as a just and humane global citizen” said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.
The Government is urged to ensure that the human rights of all refugees and asylum seekers are safeguarded. We therefore ask the Government to meet Australia’s responsibilities by:
1. treating asylum seekers humanely regardless of how they arrive in Australia,
2. processing asylum applications expeditiously, and
3. accommodating and processing in Australia asylum seekers who reach Australian territory.
Tara Curlewis said “The churches once again remind the Government and all Australians that asylum seekers are not illegal immigrants and have rights under international law to seek protection from persecution. Australia has committed, as a signatory to the Refugee Convention, to assess each asylum seeker case according to agreed criteria and take this commitment seriously.”
Full media release, Australian Churches Call for a Humane Bipartisan Approach for Asylum Seekers also ‘Call to open hearts on asylum seekers’ and ‘Malaysia Solution’: Australia’s shame and Asylum Seekers: A Christian approach.
The human face of asylum seekers is graphically depicted in The Rugmaker of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari & Robert Hillman, Insight Publications, St Kilda 2008.