Background to CAPSA principles

These have been developed to guide CAPSA’s activities.  

The heart of the Gospel is God’s passionate love for each human being. Jesus expressed that love in his care for the ill, the poor, the stranger and for those disregarded by society. He invited his followers to reach out in love to strangers, and to shape a society that respects the human dignity of the poor out of its solidarity with them.

People who come to Australia seeking asylum are among the most disregarded and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. Respect for their human dignity and health and wellbeing requires that they are properly fed, sheltered, secure, provided with appropriate educational opportunities, receive medical care and have their claims adjudicated fairly within a reasonable timeframe.

The fundamental Catholic principles of respect for human dignity and of solidarity within and between nations that makes the flourishing of the weakest the concern of all, were embodied in the United Nations Convention on Refugees.

The 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol are the global legal instruments explicitly covering important aspects of asylum seekers’ rights and responsibilities of signatory countries during and post the refugee determination process.  This instrument has helped to protect millions of people in a wide variety of situations.

Other relevant conventions to which Australia is a signatory include: the UN Declaration of Human Rights, UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UN Convention Against Torture.

Global movements of people as a result of conflict and persecution demand a global response. Solidarity between nations in responding to the needs of refugees requires of Australia and other wealthy nations’ leadership, serious international negotiation, courage and a well-considered response in which the human dignity of those fleeing persecution is non-negotiable.