By Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
It is of great concern that we have heard of the Australian Government’s plans to withdraw support to refugees who have come to Australia for medical treatment. These men, women, and children were brought to Australia from offshore detention centres, to remove support for them leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, and risks leaving them destitute.
As refugees, these men, women, and children, are under the care of the Australian Government. To deny them appropriate support is to leave them at a risk of further harm.
These people, some with history of mental health largely due to prolonged detention by the Australian Government policy, have been searching for safety and a better life; they deserve more than this treatment.
I urge the Australian Government to continue to provide support services for these men, women, and children, who are awaiting a resolution to their current situation. As a well-resourced nation with a long tradition of caring for migrants and refugees, we can do better than to throw a small number of refugees out onto the streets. It is a bridge too far. It is cruel and simply un-Australian
People seeking asylum are some of the most vulnerable members of our global community. It is imperative that they are treated humanely and with dignity. I urge the Australian Government to honour its international obligations, and continue its work within the region and with non-government organisations to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum.