Tag Archives: detention

Detention and the Human Person

Refugee men and fence. Refugee concept

I would like to begin by expressing my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Omid Masoumali, in particular his wife, after his tragic death on Friday 29 April, writes Fr Maurizio Pettenà, Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.

It is of particular concern that, only days later a second person, a young Somali woman by the name of Hodan Yasin, set herself alight on Monday 2 May after being returned from Australia to Nauru. She is now in a critical condition in a Brisbane Hospital.

This is the second occurrence of self-immolation in as many days. We have been exposed to the extreme end to which the hopelessness of detention can lead to. It is becoming more and more clear that the mental health of those left in limbo as a result of ongoing detention and a lack of resolution as to their immigration status is deteriorating at an alarming rate.

It is my concern that the dignity of the human person is increasingly lowered among the priorities when discussing policy around refugees and asylum seekers. At a time where mental health is more and more at the forefront of the psyche of our communities, it is alarming that people placed in the ‘care’ of Australia in places of detention are left to spiral into hopelessness. Continue reading

Bishops’ Australia Day call for time limit on detention

Media Release
24 January, 2012

To mark Australia Day, the Catholic Bishops Commission for Justice, Ecology and Development calls upon political parties to work towards a common approach to asylum seekers, so that human beings do not become pawns in a political argument. Further, and more immediately, to honour the Australian sense of justice and compassion, there must be a defined limit to incarceration in detention centres for people who are not criminals. The Bishops are calling on the Government to limit detention to three months.

Four of the Bishops who signed this statement minister directly to asylum seekers in immigration detention centres located in their dioceses. Bishop Julian Porteous, Auxiliary Bishop in Sydney, supported the opinions of the other Bishops who have direct involvement in the pastoral care of asylum seekers in detention. “Prolonged and indefinite detention in these facilities can only produce psychological damage”, he said. Continue reading