Australian Christian Churches call for compassion for refugees

December 21st 2017: The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce calls on all members of Government to abandon the policy for those transferred to Nauru and Manus Island, to never be allowed entry to Australia.

As the Christian Churches enter a season of celebration for the life, struggle for justice and compassion that Jesus gave to the world, we draw strength to keep working for the same justice and compassion.

We implore leaders in Government in Australia to end the suffering of those whom have spent more than five years in closed detention, and move immediately to bring them to Australia.

We mourn for those experiencing conflict or violence in detention centres or in the community, living in places in which they have no future.

We weep for separated families and the pain of the longing to be re-united and find a safe home.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Chair, the Very Rev’d Dr. Peter Catt:
“As the festive season in the Christian calendar commences we say to all those suffering in Nauru and PNG that we have not forgotten you and will not abandon you.  We will continue to call for your return to Australia and also work to find a way to provide compassion and care in the meantime.”

 The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, in collaboration with other faith based agencies, have been engaging with PNG churches to explore the opportunities to provide support and care not only to the refugee men, but the Manus Island residents, at this time.

Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce Chair, the Very Rev’d Dr. Peter Catt:
“We know that PNG has issues of concern for its population and its nation and we stand with our ecumenical partners in PNG who struggle with this.  But for the context on Manus Island we recognise this is not the fault of the refugees, the PNG locals or their Government.  Australia wanted a quick fix to a situation which has turned into a protracted and harmful experience for many.  The situation has put enormous ethical pressure on all involved and we cannot stand aside to simply witness the suffering”.

 In 2018 the ACRT will work with other faith based organisations to explore options for further support to our PNG ecumenical partners in the challenges of this situation.  The ACRT is firmly committed to the relocation of the refugee men on Manus Island, but understands the need for a compassionate, collaborative response across the community.

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