Diocese says asylum seeker riots a sign of desperation, not criminality
In the wake of last week's riots by asylum seekers at WA's Curtin detention centre, the Broome Diocese has called for the Government to take a new approach to detainees in its Detention Centres.
Coordinator of the Diocesan Office of Justice, Ecology & Peace, Br Shane Wood, said the current system is not working.
"If people who are anxiously awaiting a favourable outcome for their case are driven to undertake actions that could clearly jeopardise that outcome, surely it is a sign that they are desperate," he said.
"These people are being housed in a very confined area in a very harsh climate in close proximity to people that they would not normally associate with. They are kept in these conditions for long periods of time with little or no contact with the outside world. Why are we surprised that frustration is the result?"
He said that the fact that 80% of the detainees are eventually granted resident status suggests that they are not all troublemakers.
"These people have not committed a criminal offence. They have breached an administrative law. Nor are they 'queue jumpers' since in international law there is no such thing as a queue for victims of persecution to join," he said.
Br Wood warned that the Minister's hardline legislative proposals for dealing with detainees in the future "will more than likely result in further resentment and added hardship for the detainees.
He said: "It is almost as if Mr Ruddock and the Government are intent on provoking anger and resentment and so provide further evidence for their campaign of misinformation about the refugee situation."
Broome Diocese JEP