The St Vincent de Paul Society is a member of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), which is once again hosting rallies for refugees this Palm Sunday. The 2018 Walk For Justice For Refugees will take place throughout Australia on 25 March. People from all faith groups, community organisations and members of the public are invited to join the Palm Sunday walk, bringing banners and other messages of support in solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum.
In recent years thousands of people, including those representing CAPSA, have attended the walk. It’s important that we keep up this momentum to demonstrate the growing concern across the community about the harsh and punitive treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
According to CAPSA, now more than ever Australians need to stand together for justice for refugees. The Australian Government continues to punish people who seek protection in Australia, as reflected in the following:
- Thousands of people have been held on Nauru and Manus Island during the last four years, and the deliberate cruelty of the offshore detention regime has resulted in nine deaths, many people developing serious mental illness and untold misery and despair.
- The men marooned on Manus are fearful for their safety as Australia abandons them in Papua New Guinea.
- There are still over 100 children on Nauru who, with their families and other adults, are being denied hope for the future.
- So far only around 240 people have been offered protection by America. It is now clear that refugees from countries covered by the USA travel ban including Iran, Somalia and Syria are not being offered places and currently have no prospect other than remaining in indefinite limbo.
- The Australian Government has rejected the offer by New Zealand to provide protection for 150 people per year.
- There are concerns that many people will be pressured to return to unsafe places.
- Over 30,000 asylum seekers in our communities continue to be neglected. Those recognised as refugees have been given only temporary solutions, while many on Bridging visas face an uncertain future.
- Many families are separated by our harsh system and most have no hope of ever being reunited with their loved ones.
CAPSA believes Australia is responsible for these people. Instead of spending millions to prolong their despair, Australia should immediately offer protection to those who are refugees (the majority) and review the claims of those who do not have refugee status. The humane thing to do is to #BringThemHere and #LetThemStay. For details of a rally near you, see below:
1pm Garema Place
Cairns for Refugees will have information outside several churches in Cairns after the service on Palm Sunday.