PRESS RELEASE : The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce can see no justification for the Immigration Minister’s decision to order the rounding up of asylum seekers in the community. Mr. Morrison says there are more than a thousand people in the community who have had their claims rejected and that it’s time for them to go home.
Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Deputy Chair, Sister Suzette Clark, said, “The minister fails to point out that among that number are people who have yet to exhaust the full appeal process in the courts. It also includes people who are stateless, so there is no country to which they can be deported.”
“These people have no home!” she said.
The minister’s statement is causing deep distress among asylum seekers, with many fearing they could be rounded up at any time and placed in indefinite detention.
“We are particularly concerned that some of this group will be families, women and children,” Sister Suzette Clark said. “The minister has failed to explain how this is in the public interest. Removing asylum seekers from the community is unjustly punitive and cruel.”
A further, overarching concern of the Taskforce is that the inalienable human dignity of all of us, not just of those who come to our shores seeking our protection, is at risk due to the lack of compassion in the current approach to people seeking asylum.
Sister Suzette Clark said, “We are concerned that Australia’s response to the challenges of displaced peoples in our modern era diminishes us as individual Australians and as a nation of peoples”
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is an initiative supported by the National Council of Churches in Australia, and the Steering Committee is comprised of 18 senior clergy members who represent eight Christian churches and three ecumenical bodies. The Taskforce has a further 321 Christian entities who are network members.