Front – News

Media Release: Catholic Orders from across Australia call for Amnesty for the people in detention camps saying #BringThemHere!

AUGUST 18 2016: Sisters from Catholic religious orders across Australia will today sign a statement calling on the Prime Minister to issue an amnesty for those suffering intolerable cruelty in Australia’s offshore detention camps, and back a call for a Summit on Solutions to take the politics out of refugee policy.

Sr Monica Cavanagh, Congregational Leader of the Sisters of St Joseph, said that the celebration of 150 years of the life and work of Saint Mary Mackillop, being celebrated here in Sydney this week, motivated Catholic Orders to do what Sister Mary would have done, which is to “ask that the people seeking asylum on Manus Island and Nauru, be brought here to Australia”.

“In the context of the imminent closure of the Manus camp – announced yesterday by the PNG and Australian Government – the men on Manus must be granted this amnesty and brought to Australia, not to some other temporary or unsafe context”, Sr Monica said.

Speaking at Mary Mackillop Place in Sydney today, Sr Monica said “after people are brought here to safety, we fully support the call for a Summit on Solutions, so that the best alternatives can be thrashed out in a bipartisan way”.

“We are making a personal appeal to Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten: please put human dignity above politics by agreeing to work together.”

Also speaking at the celebrations for Saint Mary Mackillop today, Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, said that: “we don’t accept the argument that it’s impossible to bring people here for fear of the people smuggling trade re-starting.

“We can’t wait for more children to be abused in the offshore camps for alternatives to be put in place. That’s why Catholic Sisters from across Australia are calling for a one-off amnesty for people in the offshore centres-this is less than 2000 people!”

“Most of these people have already been found to be refugees. They have endured enough. Let’s empty the camps.”

“We also don’t accept that Australia has to turn people seeking asylum back to the countries from which they’ve fled, in order to have a sound policy framework.

“There are alternative solutions that are being ignored because of partisan debates. We need a Summit of Solution now to force our leaders to put safety above politics.

Photos available on request.

Media Inquiries and comment:

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, 0428 399 739

Peter Stahel (Essential Media) 0408 584 439

 

By | August 18th, 2016|Front - News, Press Releases|

Press Release: Nauru child abuse – “the government knew and did nothing”

AUGUST 10 2016: The Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce says the Nauru files released today corroborate previous allegations submitted to the government and the Moss Review as far back as 2014.

Misha Coleman, Executive Director of the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce: “The files released today corroborate the allegations made in letters from detainees which were smuggled out of the Nauru camp and given to the Taskforce in 2014.

“These were allegations that were completely ignored. They were a horrific red flag to the scale of abuse and the government did nothing. The government knew. It then did nothing to prevent the ongoing daily acts of abuse committed on children and women especially. The letters detailed a range of abuse cases including a rape and an alleged cover-up of that rape – it’s clear from the files released today that the situation has sunk to unholy depths.”

At the time, the Taskforce Chair called for a Royal Commission into the systemic and gross abuse of children, mums and dads occurring every day in these camps are funded by Australian taxpayers. Taskforce Chair, The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt:

“We had called for a Royal Commission into the offshore camps after some of the key issues raised in the report were referred back to the Nauruan police, in which we have no confidence whatsoever.

“Today however, we’re calling on the Australian Government to immediately bring these innocent people from Nauru, here to Australia, and then to immediately establish a Royal Commission into these sorry offshore detention camps. In the same way that the government reacted swiftly and correctly to the expose of the abuse at Dondale Detention Centre, we call on the government to react swiftly and bring people here to Australia, out of harm’s way.”

Available for interview:
Rev’d Peter Catt: 0404 052 494
Misha Coleman: 0428 399 739

 

Press Release: Self-immolation tragedies on Nauru direct result of cruel refugee policy

MAY 5 2016: A 21-year-old Somali refugee has set herself alight on Nauru in what is the second attempted self-immolation on the island in a week.

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce said:

“People are not seeking attention – they are trying to end their lives.

“After years on Nauru, with absolutely no end in sight, their depression is so acute that ending their lives appears to them to be their only “resettlement option”.

“The system is designed to break the spirit of refugees to give up on their right to seek asylum. They have no hope and this tragedy is the result.

“There are other options Prime Minister. No other country in the world has a policy as cruel as this. Enough!

“Statements from the Government of Nauru blaming victims and advocates are a sad reflection of the influence of money in the relationship with the Australian Government that ignores human rights,” Ms Coleman said.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0408 584 439

Press Release: National Day of Prayer to be held for Mothers of the Young Men on Manus

MAY 4 2016: The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is calling a National Day of Prayer for every mother who has a son or daughter in one of Australia’s offshore detention centres, to coincide with Mother’s Day on May 8th.

The Very Reverend Dr Peter Catt of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, and Chairperson of the Taskforce says “As we cherish and hold in prayer our own mothers this Sunday, we must also be challenged to acknowledge and pray for the mothers who are the victims of our border politics”.

“Mothers of refugees are very significant in the biblical narrative, including the mother of Moses and the mother of Jesus.”

“They are the all-too-forgotten victims of detention policies, who must live with the daily uncertainty about their children’s freedom, safety and health.”

The day of prayer was called following the announcement that the Supreme Court of PNG has determined the offshore processing centre Manus Island to be illegal.

The future of the young men who have been languishing on Manus is uncertain.

Advocates across the country, using the hashtag #BringThemHere, say the men should have been brought to Australia long ago.

Executive Officer of the Taskforce, Misha Coleman said that “as a mother myself, watching the Four Corners expose on the death of a young man in our care on Manus Island ( April 25th) really made me think about the impact offshore detention camps such as Manus Island have on mothers of asylum seekers.

Churches, clergy and parishioners who want to join the prayers, in their own church at their own time, can do so easily by registering at www.acrt.com.au

Media Inquiries and comment:

Misha Coleman, Executive Officer, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, 0428 399 739

The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt, Chair, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, 0404 052 494

 

By | May 4th, 2016|Front - News, Press Releases|

Asylum seeker children in detention: Why the church has a duty to speak up

Usually dutiful Christians have been radicalised by a mounting outrage, concern and grief at the way we have been treating asylum seekers. This has prompted an unprecedented coalition of church groups determined to persuade the two Christian leaders responsible for the policy – Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison – to show more compassion to the vulnerable. From the Sydney Morning Herald, by Julia Baird.

Read the full story: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/asylum-seeker-children-in-detention-why-the-church-has-a-duty-to-speak-up-20140731-zz6ca.html#ixzz3t1uRUZm7

By | December 1st, 2015|Front - News|

Do Unto Others; Changing the Boats Narrative

Church leaders, meeting in Brisbane today, call on the new Australian PM to show leadership on asylum.  Read more.

By | November 23rd, 2015|Front - News|

Taskforce agrees with Tasmanian Government that it’s ready to take asylum seekers

From the ABC: Taskforce agrees with Tasmanian Government that it’s ready to take asylum seekers.

Immediate Sanctuary Required for Refugees fleeing Syria and Iraq – Uniting Justice Australia

The Uniting Church in Australia is today calling on the Government to commit to a significant increase in Australia’s refugee intake as a response to the crisis in Syria.

“While we welcome the Federal Government’s commitment to increase our refugee intake from Syria, the scale of this crisis requires a much greater response,” said Uniting Church President Mr Stuart McMillan.

Read the full press release at the Uniting Justice website.

By | September 8th, 2015|Front - News, Latest News, Press Releases|

Disrupting The Supply Chains Of Mandatory Detention

From New Matilda By Matthew Kiem. The inspiring tale of activism that forced a major super fund to ditch a company in the misery business. The persistent pressure on HESTA to divest from Transfield Services Pty Ltd has landed a huge blow against the biggest contractor in the Australian detention industry. Read the full story.

By | September 8th, 2015|Front - News, Latest News, No Business in Abuse|

‘Hell exists and it’s on Nauru’: Priest angers Transfield over asylum seeker church signs

From the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. By Joanne McCarthy. Transfield chairwoman Diane Smith-Gander has asked to meet with Newcastle Anglican Bishop Greg Thompson about the priest who won’t stop talking about Jesus, morals and asylum seekers. Father Rod Bower’s sign “Hesta Divests Transfield. Good on ya!” outside his Gosford church on August 18 after the superannuation fund divested its Transfield shares, and a tweet saying “Don’t invest in evil”, led to a call from Transfield and a request for a meeting. Read the full story.

By | September 3rd, 2015|Front - News, Latest News, No Business in Abuse|