Refugees    PLEA TO ASSIST AFGHANI MUSLIM REFUGEES
Brisbane Catholics are being asked to help 16 Muslim men who have fled persecution in Afghanistan and have been housed temporarily at Banyo Seminary.
   The men, mostly in their 20s, are part of a group of 41 people who came to Australia by boat. They arrived in Brisbane from a West Australian detention centre three weeks ago. They were released from the centre on temporary protection visas.
   Brisbane archdiocesan Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care coordinator Jose Zepeda said this was a special category of visa which allows them to stay in Australia for three years.
   "The 41 were desperate to find a country to protect them and paid smugglers to get them to Australia," Mr Zepeda said.
   Meanwhile, Australia's treatment of 1434 asylum seekers in the Woomera detention centre was in breach of the International Bill of Rights, according to a leading human rights lawyer, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, George Lombard.
   Fr Jim Monaghan, parish priest of Woomera-Roxby Downs is providing spiritual care for the asylum seekers at Woomera, often in difficult circumstances, and attempting to focus responsible media attention on their plight.
   He told Matthew Abraham of Adelaide's Catholic Communications that he tried to "put [himself] in the shoes of the people in the camp - they're not saints or sinners, just people". We might like to keep Fr Jim in our prayers in what must sometimes be a lonely ministry.
   - Cath Leader/
Cath Comm (Adel)
20/4/00

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