REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
The Scriptures call us to offer hospitality to the stranger. Jesus and his family were once refugees, and we continue to see the face of Jesus in the millions of forcibly displaced people in the world today.
Fear is the enemy of democracy
Opposition Immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison called for a suspension of asylum seekers being released into the community, on the basis of a single violent incident. Fairfax Media showed these people are about 45 times less likely to be charged with a crime than members of the public. A fear mongering politician appears to have more credibility than the facts, writes Michael Mullins in Eureka Street.
Threats to toughen up on asylum seekers
Just when we thought demonising of asylum seekers was moderating, the Opposition’s spokesman on immigration, Scott Morrison, plunged the debate lower, writes Bruce Duncan in Social Policy Connections latest newsletter. Could this asylum seeker assault on a woman herald another crackdown?
Australia takes the low road on asylum seekers
All major political parties now hope they can confine people in Nauru for years on end without any prospect of court supervision and without any need for Parliament to revisit the matter, writes Frank Brennan SJ for Eureka Street. The Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing and Other Measures) Bill 2011 has passed. With this response to the so-called ‘Malaysia solution’, writes Brennan, we have reached a fork in the road between decency and deterrence.
Refugees share their stories in photos
It was a simple idea, really, but one that would produce unexpected results.
Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific (JRSAP) has for three decades ministered to the needs of a steady stream of refugees from across the region seeking freedom and opportunity denied them at home.
To cap its commemoration of 30 years of service, JRSAP enlisted eight asylum seekers from Cambodia, China, Iran, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to participate in a project that would give them an opportunity to tell their stories in their own way and in their own voice.
Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning blows some well-used myths about asylum seekers.
Caz Coleman of the Hotham Mission discusses in a Social Policy Connections forum in late 2011 the security risk of welcoming asylum seekers who reach Australia by boat, without papers, versus those who make it into the country by air with identity documents.
Marc Purcell of the Australian Council for International Aid looks at the implications of increasingly urbanised populations on development planning particularly with the growing numbers of people forced into slums as they seek better education and health care for their children in the cities. He was speaking at a Social Policy Connections public policy forum on Australia, Aid, Global Development in August 2011.
Slavery: the importance of victim-centred terminology
Good Shepherd justice development manager Michaela Guthridge told a a Social Policy Connections public policy forum in August 2011 of the importance of keeping culture, religion and language in mind when using the terms 'forced' and 'servile' marriage rather than 'sham' marriage which highlights the underlying illegitimacy of the marriage.
From Vietnamese boat person to bishop
Speaking to an audience of 500-600 people in Central Hall in Fitzroy on October 11, 2011, Bishop Vincent Long van Nguyen spoke movingly of his experience as a boat person among the several million people fleeing Vietnam after the communist take-over in 1975.
Recently appointed a Catholic auxiliary bishop in Melbourne, he described the boat journey, the hardships, thirst, deaths, the pillage by pirates and the perils of a small crowded boat on the open ocean.
Mental health impact of indefinite detention a concern at Curtin Centre
The Australian Human Rights Commission has raised serious concerns about the mental health impacts of indefinite detention on people held at the Curtin Immigration Detention Centre. Releasing a report on a visit to the centre, Commission President Catherine Branson QC said on September 29, 2011, the Commission is worried about high rates of self-harm at the Curtin centre, which now holds the highest number of detainees.
People on the Move & CST
A brief introduction to how Catholic Social Teaching approaches the issues.
Tampa rescue sank welcome mat
A major consequence of the Tampa crisis is that Australian society has made a “fundamental shift” in its attitude to refugees, says Fr Aloysious Mowe SJ, director of Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, on the 10th anniversary of the Norwegian ship's rescue of 433 refugees.
East Africa: Some saved but millions more face tragedy
There is hope for millions of East African families who can still be saved from tragedy if the Australian and international community are willing to avert this human catastrophe. “People can survive and that is happening every day since the world began to engage in this shocking drought,” Caritas Australia Humanitarian Emergency Group Project Coordinator, Richard Forsythe said. “But it just isn’t enough.
What would Ignatius do?
On the feast of St Ignatius, July 31, the president of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, Fr Mark Raper, spoke of the setting up of Jesuit Refugee Service. For JRS’ founder Don Pedro Arrupe who was Father General from 1965 to 1981, the refugee crisis was like the bombing of Hiroshima which he witnessed on August 6, 1945, ‘...Not only because of the hundreds of thousands of victims, but because each explodes on the imagination of the world. You feel the same with the Japanese tsunami, Cyclone Ondoy, and now with the current famine in the Horn of Africa. These gigantic tragedies touch our hearts and set before us a choice...’ Read more
The UN refugee convention: still valid?
This year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) marks the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Concluding Thinking Faith’s series for Refugee Week 2011, Amaya Valcarcel, Jesuit Refugee Service International Advocacy Coordinator, considers the aptness of the law to deal with forced displacement today.
I didn’t have to be afraid of the border anymore
By Tom Roberts of NCR
What Leo Guardado most remembers about crossing the border back in 1991 was moving along in moonlit shadows, trying, as a 9-and-a-half-year-old, to stay low and to keep his own shadow from showing.
A ‘maddening’ system: from courtrooms to shelters
Each day at the Evo A DeConcini US Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona, 70 undocumented migrants are seated in orderly rows, hushed like a quiet congregation in long pews in the low light of a modern courtroom.
On this day Judge Bernardo P Velasco took little more than a half hour to call rank after rank of migrants to a line of microphones in front of the bench. The script was simple – questions delivered through an interpreter established that the defendants are citizens of other countries, mostly Mexico with a few from Guatemala, and that they knew they could have an individual trial, subpoena and cross-examine witnesses and refuse to testify.
Refugee rage (Kerry Murphy)
Minister Bowen's announcement of 'tougher measures' for refugees in detention harks back to a time when the previous Government kept finding new ways of vilifying asylum seekers. He is proposing changes to the character test and a new 'temporary visa'. It is sad that within such a short time, the Labor Government has moved away from the promising rhetoric of former Minister Evans at ANU in July 2008.
Border protection's selective rescue (Tony Kevin)
Disturbing evidence is emerging of moral confusion and a propensity to hide embarrassing facts, within Australia's Border Protection Command system, on its obligations to protect lives of people on suspected illegal entry vessels (SIEVs) passing through Australia's northern maritime surveillance areas.
Backflip Denies Dignity
Andy Hamilton SJ explains why Australia's suspension of the processing of asylum claims of people from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan is an afront to human dignity.
Jesuit Refugee Service Director, Sacha Bermudez Goldman SJ, reflects on recent policy changes in Australia.
“We must all work to safeguard, consolidate and, where necessary deepen the regime of asylum and protection and to strengthen its application in the changing situation of our world.”
Holy See at the Executive Committee of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2001
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