Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, Fr Maurizio Pettena calls for immediate action on the allegations made in the leaked Nauru files. The Nauru files detail numerous alleged incidents of physical and sexual abuse of detainees at Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre.
Fr Pettena expressed “grave concern that more than half of the allegations involve children, even though they make up %18 of those in detention.” He also expressed concern about “the manner in which these allegations have been handled, in particular the downgrading of severity in allegations.”
Fr Pettena called on the Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton to take immediate action. He declared that “there has been a consistent decline in the mental and physical condition of refugees on Nauru.” Hence he demanded that “concrete action must be taken to improve conditions.” Meanwhile, community movements are calling for the asylum seekers to be brought to Australia.
Speaking on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops, Fr Pettena made their position clear. He explains that it is not only the allegations made in the Nauru files that are of concern, but the whole policy regime.
“The Catholic Church opposes mandatory detention and offshore detention because these policy responses do not respect the dignity of people seeking our help. It is imperative that the dignity of the human person must always come first.
Governments have a responsibility to manage migration flows, but the Australian Government’s current approach is harsh and should change.”
Read the Full Statement
Read the full statement here.