ACT Church Leaders call for justice and compassion for Asylum Seekers

Ratiba Awad with her three children, Ouday (5), Ahraa (4) and Batoula (7 months), in the abandoned cow shed where they live with over 20 other Syrian refugees since having to flee their homes due to the war in Syria  (Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trócaire)

Ratiba Awad with her three children, Ouday (5), Ahraa (4) and Batoula (7 months), in the abandoned cow shed where they live with over 20 other Syrian refugees since having to flee their homes due to the war in Syria
(Photo: Eoghan Rice / Trócaire)

Media Release, 4 September, 2013

As leaders of Christian Churches in the ACT we reject the current government policy on the processing of asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Furthermore we reject the asylum seeker policies of both the major political parties.

Current asylum seeker policies for boat arrivals and those proposed by both major parties are unjust, inhumane and a selective, questionable application of Australia’s commitment to the UN Refugee Convention.

As leaders of faith communities who profess to follow the way of Jesus of Nazareth, we call on all candidates in the forthcoming election to reject the current inhumane policies and to embrace policies that protect the human rights of each and every person who seeks asylum in Australia, regardless of the means they use to arrive in Australia.

We call on all political candidates in the forthcoming election to embrace compassionate asylum seeker policies, to fully support Australia’s obligations to the UN Refugee Convention, to permit the processing of asylum seekers on the Australian mainland however they arrive, to expedite as soon as practical the processing of asylum seeker’s claims, to ensure legal advice is available to all asylum seekers who require it, to ensure that no children spend time in detention and to offer successful claimants of asylum permanent residency in Australia.

We believe that to do the above will enable the Australian people to fulfil the central tenant of Christian morality to “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

Monsignor John Woods (Administrator, Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
Bishop Pat Power (Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
Bishop Stuart Robinson (Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
Bishop Trevor Edwards (Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn)
Dr Kevin Bray (Executive Member, ACT Churches’ Council)
Rev Ivan Roberts (Chairperson, Uniting Church Presbytery of Canberra Region)
Rev Christopher Turner (Canberra Baptist Church)
Rev Belinda Groves (Canberra Baptist Church)
Rev Dr Thorwald Lorenzen (Canberra Baptist Church)

Coordinated by Rev Christopher Turner (Executive Member, ACT Churches Council)
email: chris@canbap.org
mob: 0411299313