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HomeHost Accommodation Information

This guide is designed to provide initial information for prospective HomeHosts or support volunteers. Hosts may eventually be linked with a State or Territory service for advice or training, so this guide acts as an entry point for thinking about what might be expected in hosting an asylum seeker who is destitute and therefore homeless. The foundational principle of HomeHost is the belief that no person lawfully residing in Australia should be forced into homelessness through the removal of access to financial or housing support.

Download the document here.

By | 2018-05-08T10:58:36+00:00 May 8th, 2018|Dignity not Destitution, Latest News|

The Syrian Conflict and a Faithful Response

Léon Cognie’s image depicting the events of Matthew 2: 16-18 is based on the ordering of the massacre of all the boys 2 years and under, by Herod.  In the painting mothers are fleeing from Herod’s soldiers clutching their babies.  The hand covering the baby’s mouth, suggests the need for silence, to retain life.

The mother’s fear is palpable and it impossible to turn away from the striking image of her face.

This image starkly reminds us, another massacre is occurring in Syria today andwe cannot remain silent.

March 15th 2018 marks the 7th year of the conflict in Syria.  Over 500,000 people have been killed in the conflict during this time with the toll rising every day. Currently, nearly 400,000 civilians are trapped in Eastern Ghouta as Syria’s government rages war on the community.

Ms. Carmen Lazar, Deputy Chair Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce and Manager Assyrian Australian Association – Assyrian Resource Centre;

“Even the UN no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering.  I have nothing to tell my Syrian clients here in Australia, who are distressed every day when more people die and more people are displaced.  They fear for their families, community and country.

The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce urge members to support the Syrian people where they can.

How you can support

Donate

Since the beginning of the violence, the ACT Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and church-related organisations, have been working together a provide humanitarian relief to affected people and communities in Syria and in the surrounding countries.   In Australia Act for Peace are working with ACT Alliance members internationally and you can find more information here  https://www.actforpeace.org.au/syria?s=AFP-NEWS-1605-WEB22

Write

Write to your local MP, Senator or Minister for Foreign Affairs expressing your deep concern to see further peaceful interventions regarding the Syrian conflict.

You can find contact information for Senators and Parliament Members here https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Guidelines_for_Contacting_Senators_and_Members

A number of faith based justice agencies have great tips for how best to write to a Member of Parliament.

Some suggested points to raise (using your own words is always more effective)

Thank the Government for committing to the 12,000 permanent places for vulnerable Syrian refugees.  (These places were in addition to the13,750 places available under Australia’s 2016–17 Humanitarian Program and have now been filled).  Request consideration of expanding this program given the current level of violence.
Thank the Government for providing the $220 million for three years to address the humanitarian and longer-term resilience needs in Syria and neighbouring countries hosting large numbers of refugees.  Request a further financial commitment given the current need.
Request that all members of Government provide ongoing international leadership for resolution of the conflict, matched by the Australian Government scaling up its financial and resource commitments to the Syrian population and host communities.
Urge the Government to strongly reject the use of chemical weapons under the Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons (23 January 2018 and work collaboratively with other partners to stop the practice.  https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/disarmament-and-non-proliferation/events/article/chemical-weapons-ending-impunity-23-01-18
Request information about what other measures the Australian Government is taking to resolve the conflict and create safety for the refugee and internally displaced population.

Visit your local Member of Parliament

Visiting your local MP can be an effective way of influencing policy, although it can be difficult to secure a meeting.

Only a small percentage of people actually take the time to visit their MP because they are not necessarily sure of the best way to approach.  Caritas has a great kit for getting the best outcomes here http://www.caritas.org.au/docs/default-source/campaigns/mp-kit

Pray

Use the image of the Massacre of the Innocents (Léon Cogniet 1824) or any number of images from the Syrian conflict, to prayfully reflect with your community on the people of Syria.   

 

By | 2018-03-16T14:01:25+00:00 March 15th, 2018|Latest News|

Media Release: Australian Christian Churches Weep for the Massacre of the Innocents

March 15th 2018: The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) notes that the 15th March 2018 marks 7 years of conflict in Syria, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions displaced from their home.

Léon Cognie’s artwork Massacre of the Innocents, depicting the events of Matthew 2: 16-18 is based on the ordering of the massacre of all the boys 2 years and under, by Herod.  In the painting mothers are fleeing from Herod’s soldiers clutching their babies.  The hand covering the baby’s mouth, suggests the need for silence, to retain life.

The mother’s fear is palpable and it impossible to turn away from the striking image of her face.  This image starkly reminds us, another massacre is occurring in Syria today and we cannot remain silent.

Ms. Carmen Lazar, Deputy Chair Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce and Manager Assyrian Australian Association – Assyrian Resource Centre;

“Even the UN no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering.  I have nothing to tell my Syrian clients here in Australia, who are distressed every day when more people die and more people are displaced.  They fear for their families, community and country.”

The Very Rev’d Dr. Peter Catt, Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Chair;
“We celebrate that Australia has given sanctuary to 12,000 Syrians over the past three years and contributed support funding.  But we urge the Australian Government to do more to assist in this conflict, as we see so many more children dying and families being ripped apart.”

The ACRT also remains deeply concerned at the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict and notes the Australian Government’s involvement in the Launch of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons (23 January 2018).  Through this Partnership and the Chemical Weapons Convention Australia must retain a strong stance against the use of such weapons.

In 2018 the ACRT will support members to continue to take action on the Syrian conflict.  Suggestions for action have been included on the ACRT website alongside actions for other refugee concerns.

Media inquiries may be directed to:

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

Caz Coleman
Executive Officer
0411 876 226

By | 2018-03-15T10:09:46+00:00 March 15th, 2018|Latest News, Press Releases|

Church, aid and human rights groups call on government to evacuate the refugee camps

It’s not just President Donald Trump complaining about an agreement between the Australian and American governments to move twelve hundred and fifty refugees from Nauru and Manus Island to the US. A coalition of 70 church, human rights and aid groups wants an end to the refugees’ uncertainty over whether they’ll ever get to America. Listen to the full story from RN.

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:37+00:00 February 13th, 2017|Latest News, TV and Radio|

So what difference will the election make to policies determining people seeking protection?

By the Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, www.BASP.org.au

There was almost a conspiracy of silence about refugees and asylum seekers during the election campaign—except for a few forays into the ‘control of our borders’ with both major parties assuring us that they would be the best at managing this. This can presumably be translated into ‘we will continue the harshest treatment we can’ towards anyone daring to seek protection in Australia.

Whoever forms Government, they will have to negotiate with some of the ‘others’ in the Parliament. We have the anomaly that these include the Greens (long term supporters of a more humane approach), some Independents who are also in favour of a compassionate and a changed deal for asylum seekers and the flip side of the coin including the vociferous Pauline Hansen and her One Nation party.

All those, we at BASP are trying to support in their quest for some security ask, ‘What does the election mean for us? How is it going?’ So once again, we have this relatively small group of people, asking only for safety and kindness, at the mercy of the domestic political turmoil. We have suggested before, and reiterate again, that it is necessary to move the discussion on asylum, people smuggling and refugee movements to a neutral space. We suggest the establishment of a new structure that has the management of asylum seekers separate from border control and determined by objective, eminent citizens acting under another government department, for example the Justice Department. The Immigration Department is responsible for the movement in and out of Australia of millions of people each year and the policies surrounding immigrants to Australia. Protecting people’s rights to request country resettlement under the Refugee Convention lies outside this major responsibility and has proven to be at odds with a preoccupation with ‘border control’. Asylum seekers are not immigrants, so by definition they should not fit under our immigration policy.

We ask for leadership that is conscious that every time a minister or person makes a statement about Australia not accepting asylum seekers, there are people in a state of total insecurity listening for clues about their future. Statements about refugees being illiterate and looking to take jobs from the rest of the population both denigrate and frighten the poor people here waiting for answers about their future.

At BASP, we face, almost daily, the consequences for people who have been detained both on the Australian mainland and in offshore detention. We therefore hope the settling of the present black holes in the treatment of asylum seekers will be a high priority for the new government. This could involve establishing open reception places for asylum seekers rather than putting them indefinitely in detention. It would certainly mean taking people off the islands on Nauru and Manus and bringing them to Australia.

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:42+00:00 August 3rd, 2016|Latest News, Press Releases|

#Letthemstay sanctuary training set up at Brisbane Cathedral

From the Brisbane Times by Amy Mitchell-Whittington. Read the full story….

The Anglican Dean of Brisbane welcomed those willing to stand with him in providing a sanctuary for refugees by facilitating “sanctuary training” on Sunday.

Dr Peter Catt declared St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane’s CBD as a place of sanctuary more than a month ago for the 267 asylum seekers who the High Court of Australia ruled must return to offshore detention centres.

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:44+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Front - Campaigns, Latest News, Sanctuary|

Churches vow to protect asylum seekers

From Sky News – Read the Full Story. Hundreds of people who are prepared to put their bodies on the line to protect asylum seekers looking for sanctuary in Australian churches have attended training sessions across the country.

Some 115 churches have vowed to provide sanctuary to 267 asylum seekers, including children, facing deportation back to Nauru.

In Melbourne, more than 100 people attended the Wesley Uniting Church on Sunday to learn how they could help protect the asylum seekers if they do look for sanctuary in the church.

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:45+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Front - Campaigns, Latest News, Sanctuary|

Nuns Train To Resist Government Threat To Church Sanctuary Tradition, Dating To Middle Ages

From the HuffPost Australia – Read the Full Story.

In the peaceful heart of Mary MacKillop Place, near where the tomb of Australia’s first saint rests, people — including nuns — gathered on Sunday to learn the principles of non-violent resistance.

They were shown how to body block and deal with police in preparation for the possibility they would need to protect asylum seekers looking for sanctuary in the church from being taken by Australian Border Force officers.

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:45+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Front - Campaigns, Latest News, Sanctuary|

Churches hold lessons for asylum seeker protesters

Churches hold lessons for asylum seeker protesters – by Bethany Hiatt – The West Australian

People interested in protecting asylum seekers who sought sanctuary in churches attended training sessions held in every capital city yesterday. Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce executive officer and national church sanctuary movement co-ordinator Misha Coleman said the training was in non-violent “anti-deportation measures”. Read the full story.

 

By | 2018-01-04T16:13:45+00:00 March 18th, 2016|Front - Campaigns, Latest News, Sanctuary|