Church calls for better way to deal with asylum seekers

01/09/2011

The Catholic Church has welcomed the decision of the High Court to grant a permanent injunction against the deportation of two asylum seekers to Malaysia.

In the wake of the decision, the Church has offered to work with the Government to find a more appropriate way of dealing with asylum seekers.

"The Catholic Church’s views about the treatment of asylum seekers are well known. Our views were outlined in the Church’s recent submission to the Joint Select Committee’s Inquiry into Australia’s Immigration Detention Network," said Bishop Gerard Hanna, the Bishops’ Representative for Migrants and Refugees, said upon hearing the High Court’s decision.

"The Government knows our views and it also knows of the work that the Church does to assist asylum seekers both in detention and after their release."

The High Court held that Australia must continue to process claims of any asylum seeker who arrives here.

"It is the responsibility of all civil nations to do so," Bishop Hanna said.

"But now is not a time for celebration or recrimination. Rather, now is the time for all people of good will to work together to find a better way of dealing with asylum seekers."

Bishop Hanna said the Catholic Church stands ready to work with the Minister, the Department and all other people of good will to find a better way.

"It is to be hoped that this High Court decision does not lead to crass politics in Australia but rather to a determination to find reasonable and just outcomes for those seeking asylum," Bishop Hanna said.


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