Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum echoes calls to bring asylum seekers and refugees to Australia



Following the release of Amnesty International’s shocking report Island of Despair: Australia’s “Processing” of Refugees on Nauru, the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) has expressed support for calls by the human rights organisation, for the “Government of Australia to immediately close down the Nauru processing operation and to bring all asylum-seekers and refugees in Nauru to Australia”.

The report explicitly details instances of self-harm and abuse of children and adults on Nauru, including a guard throwing a rock at the head of a five year-old boy, multiple instances of self-immolation, and the ingestion of washing powder to self-harm. It follows a report by ABC’s Four Corners entitled The Forgotten Children, which uses secretly recorded footage from Nauru to shed light on the traumatising conditions for the more than 100 children on the island.

“These two reports add to the increasingly disturbing accounts coming from Australia’s offshore detention centres of abuse, self-harm and sexual assault,” says CAPSA Spokesperson Julie Edwards.

“How can we justify a policy of cruelty and inhumane treatment of people under the pretence of ‘saving lives’? What we are seeing in Nauru is the systematic destruction of people’s spirits and hope for a better life.”

Last week, the leadership of the Catholic Church, the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, released a statement calling on the Federal government to immediately close offshore detention centres and bring all those residing there to Australia.

“It is a timely reminder that offshore detention of people seeking asylum is not the answer. CAPSA stands behind the Bishops offering to coordinate the provision of housing, education, health and social services to all of the 1,233 people currently residing on Nauru and Manus Island. There is no way the Federal government can therefore claim that bringing them here is untenable.”

Those wishing to offer their support for those on Nauru and Manus Island, in the form of housing, schooling and other services, are encouraged to contact CAPSA at

CAPSA is a national initiative to influence hearts and minds in the Catholic community towards a more just, compassionate and humane welcome of people seeking asylum.

Media enquiries: Kathryn Kernohan, 0409 901 248 or