Standing in Solidarity – Pledge
Australia’s treatment of people who seek protection from us has been widely criticised by Church leaders and others. The cruel treatment they have received on Manus Island, Nauru and on Australian territory is well known. Bishops have appealed for humanity, Catholic schools and hospitals have made space for asylum seekers, and many Catholic groups visit detention centres.
Pope Francis has declared this a year of mercy and compassion. He has called especially for compassion to the millions of refugees who have been forced from their own lands. On Holy Thursday he washed the feet of people who sought protection in Italy, saying to them ‘we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and sisters and we want to live in peace.’
Now is the time for more Catholic people and institutions to show compassion, and to ask that our Government act humanely to such vulnerable people. As schools you can do this by signing a pledge to seek the removal of all children who are held in detention, and to take an active interest in the education of children of people who seek protection. To deprive children of freedom and to expose them to the despair, mental illness and resentment that breeds in detention centres is cruel. It is cruel also for vulnerable adults. Compassion and justice demand that they be treated humanely.
Through participating in Standing in Solidarity you will help show the Government that the Catholic community and its institutions do not support the cruel treatment of ‘our brothers and sisters who want to live in peace’. In signing this pledge you agree to our core principles:
- Mandatory indefinite detention is wrong
- Processes for assessing and treating asylum seekers must be clear and transparent
- As a nation we can do better than this
In signing the pledge we show that we act in solidarity with the people who suffer under our immigration policies and commit to take action in the week of September 4-10.