Off-shore processing will not solve underlying problem


The Australian Catholic Bishops have called for the on-shore processing of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia.

"Australia has an exceptional community lead resettlement program. Over 200 Charities have recently expressed their passion and commitment to work with refugees and asylum seekers in community based detention,” Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) Director Fr Maurizio Pettená CS said.

“Community based detention reaffirms the human dignity of the person seeking asylum and is in the best interests of the common good of all humanity.”

ACMRO warn that off-shore processing will not solve the underlying problem.

“The human drive to escape war and poverty will continue to prompt asylum seekers to find alternatives, potentially placing their lives in even greater danger of exploitation and abuse,” Fr Maurizio said.

“Compelled migrants need refuge from conflict zones, but more than this, they need an opportunity to live a dignified life with access to health, education and employment.

“When these fundamental rights are denied in their homeland – they have the right to emigrate. This is not by choice. No one wants to be in this situation.

“The current government has done much to humanise the approach towards asylum seekers, but should reflect further their motives for wanting to change the Migration Act. The lives of our brothers and sisters will be severely affected.”

The numbers of asylum seekers that Australia can expect are not so large that we can’t manage it effectively here.

ACMRO has also urged the Government not to change the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act which would allow the transfer of Children and unaccompanied minors.

“These young people are among the most vulnerable in the world; the moral and decent thing to do is to process their asylum claims in Australia,” Fr Maurizio said.


Bishop Anthony’s Catholic Outlook Letter (June 2010): ‘Freedom from fear – Refugee Week 2010’

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