Bishop Gerard Hanna has criticised the Australian government’s efforts to resettle in Cambodia those asylum seekers found to be refugees after having been intercepted at sea by Australia and sent to have their claims assessed in Nauru. “If the Australian Government is serious about expanding resettlement opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, negotiations should commence with nations who have the resources to support refugees, such as Singapore, Japan, Korea and New Zealand,” he said. Bishop Hanna is the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Delegate for Migrants and Refugees.
The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Gerard Hanna, has spoken out against the axing of funding for legal assistance to asylum seekers. “Whenever a person’s life is threatened, it is just and fair that they should be able to make a valid application for protection. The Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme enabled asylum seekers to do this,” Bishop Hanna said. For background, read immigration lawyer Kerry Murphy’s comments here.
Bishop Gerard Hanna, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Delegate for Migrants and Refugees expressed deep sadness at the death of an asylum seeker detained on Manus Island. A riot at the Australian funded offshore detention facility left dozens of other asylum seekers injured. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office called on the Australian government to ensure each person’s claim for protection is considered under Australian Law by competent independent authorities, with appropriate legal assistance and access to an independent judiciary such as the Refugee Review Tribunal. Read the media release here. How might we move people’s hearts to welcome, rather than seeking to deter, those who seek asylum? What causes us to reject and to marginalize some groups of people?
The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2013–2014 calls on the Christian community and all Australians to stand in solidarity with our neighbours around the world who are living in conditions of extreme poverty. They say that five groups in particular need our support: people who face severe hunger; people who are victims of disaster; Indigenous peoples; people with disability; and refugees and displaced people. The circumstances they face remind us of our obligation to help the world’s poorest and to work to combat poverty wherever it is found. Download the statement and related resources here.
As politicians swing into election mode the Catholic Bishops of Australia are encouraging people not to vote according to self-interest but with a view to the common good. In their pastoral letter they draw attention to a range of issues such as respect for life, marriage and the family, child protection, poverty, health and education. The needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, refugees and asylum seekers are highlighted. Watch the video here: