The death of a 31-year old man in immigration detention on Manus Island should finally force the federal government’s hand to bring asylum-seekers to Australia, says the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA).
“There have been so many horrifying stories and tragic events within Manus Island and Nauru, and the senseless death of Hamed Shamshiripour this week brings into sharp focus the fact that vulnerable people are suffering and resorting to tragic actions, on the federal government’s watch,” said Julie Edwards, Chair of CAPSA.
“Stories such as this demonstrate that offshore detention is systematically destroying people’s spirits and hopes for a better life, all the while plans to resettle people in the USA remain unclear and the futures of many are in limbo.
“We, representing the Catholic community, call on the government to stop playing politics with so many lives and #BringThemHere.”
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, says Australia has long been known for its generous welcome of migrants and refugees however is drastically failing to show leadership.
“It is not illegal to seek asylum and I, and thousands of other members of the Vietnamese community, have been welcomed to Australia with open arms in the past,” Bishop Long said.
“Australia is a wonderful country but where it is in terms of its treatment of asylum seekers should galvanise us into action. Pope Francis has called for a coordinated and effective response to people seeking asylum and it is imperative that Australia heeds his call.”
CAPSA previously offered to lead a coordinated approach to support the people currently on Nauru and Manus Island and stands ready now to receive and support them if they can be brought to Australia. Many parishes, schools, community service organisations, health services and local communities are ready and keen to assist.
http://mediablog.catholic.org.au/manus-island-refugee-death/ (ACBC Media Blog)