Bishop Long makes statement regarding the High Court's decision on offshore processing
Bishop Vincent Long ofm conv, the Australian Catholic Bishops delegate for refugees has released the following statement regarding the High Court's decision on offshore processing:
“Following the High Court decision, the Australian Government’s response to people seeking asylum, including babies born in Australia and their parents, should focus on protecting them from harm and respecting their human dignity.”
“I urge the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton to show compassion and mercy towards these families and not act in a way that will cause even more harm than has been done already.”
“I urge the Australian Government to ensure that no child is subject to an unsafe and harmful environment and that no-one is returned to where they may face physical, psychological and sexual violence and harm.”
“The Catholic Church opposes mandatory detention and offshore detention because these policy responses do not respect the dignity of people seeking our help."
“Governments have a responsibility to manage migration flows, but the Australian Government’s current approach is harsh and should change.”
“The Catholic Church is prepared to collaborate with other community organisations to provide support for asylum seekers.”
It follows news that several Anglican and Uniting Churches have pledged sanctuary to the 220 asylum seekers on the mainland facing the prospect of being sent back to Nauru after the High Court decision ruling offshore detention to be legal.
That number includes 30 babies, some of whom were born in Australia.
The ruling followed testimony in the media on 2nd February from six doctors who complained of damaging and abhorrent conditions for children on the island, including accounts of violence and proliferation of behaviour disorders and self-harm.
Bishop Long is a former refugee and Vietnamese boat person. He is the spokesman on refugees for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.