Call for Australia to Ensure Safety of Those Seeking Asylum in Our Region

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
25 Jul 2017

Bishop Terry Brady, Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney

Bishop Terry Brady, Chairman of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life has called for Australia to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum in our region.

The comments followed a statement made by Mr Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who yesterday said, "Australia's policy of offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru…has caused extensive, avoidable suffering for far too long."

"Those remaining in offshore processing in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, attempting to come to Australia for safety and a better life, deserve better," said Bishop Brady.

"People seeking asylum are often vulnerable members of our global community. It is imperative that they are treated humanely with options for settlement in safe countries and where no one is sent to a country or place where they may face further persecution."

The UNHCR, the Refugee Agency of the United Nations is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. It reports that in Papua New Guinea and Nauru more than 2,000 people are languishing in unacceptable circumstances with many families being separated and suffering physical and psychological harm.

Asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea and Nauru suffer unacceptable circumstances as they await offshore processing

"Australia, if it is to be committed to its international obligations, must work with countries in the region and non-government organisations to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum in our region," said Bishop Brady.

"Whilst it is important to prevent the loss of life at sea, it is equally important to provide adequate care for those in offshore detention. Australia needs to take responsibility for those in offshore detention and provide them adequate amenities, and provide quick resettlement options."

"I urge the Australian Government, to assist in the quick resettlement of those in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, provide options for families to reunite, and to endorse programs that both protect lives at sea and in its care."

For the full statement from the UNHCR see here