Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum welcomes government announcement to resolve the crises on Nauru and Manus Island



The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) today welcomed the announcement that the Australian Government will work with the United States of America to resettle some of the refugees languishing in offshore detention centres.

Despite some concerns about this plan, CAPSA is supportive of the move because it provides hope at last for the 1600 people seeking asylum on Manus Island and Nauru.

“For those people on Nauru and Manus Island this announcement has been three years in the making. It has been unthinkable that people have been left in these conditions which have been described by the UN as akin to torture. This has now been in part relieved by this new hope of a stable, safe and secure future”, said Julie Edwards, Chair of CAPSA.

CAPSA said the situation in offshore detention centres had become increasingly untenable. “Indefinite, mandatory and offshore detention are always wrong, and community-based processing is the best option for people seeking asylum and our communities,” Ms Edwards added.

CAPSA remains concerned about the lack of detail being provided by the government about the new plan. For example, which other countries is the Australian government negotiating with to take the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru who cannot satisfy the US health, security and character tests?

“The policy of offshore detention has caused immense harm to the people detained on Manus Island and Nauru proving that third-party resettlement is by no means a long-term solution to people travelling to Australia by boat without visas,” Ms Edwards said.

“Once all of the refugees on Manus and Nauru are resettled safely, Australia must start anew to find a better way to help refugees who are reaching out to our country for help. We need policies and plans that centre on compassion and humanity over cruelty.

“CAPSA will continue to work with both the government and opposition to develop measures that will prevent a regime of offshore detention ever again being instigated.

“Our community will continue to pray and take action, as Pope Francis calls us to, for our brothers and sisters being displaced by war, famine and persecution.

“It is now more important than ever that we respect the dignity of the human person, and that we find solutions that are both compassionate and sustainable in the long term.”

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.

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