Aboriginal Catholic Ministry 'stands in solidarity' with asylum seekers
The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Council of Adelaide has declared its "stand in solidarity" with asylum seekers and refugees describing them as sisters and brothers.
A statement prepared by a recent meeting of the council rejected what it described as "the harsh and cruel treatment being offered to desperate, persecuted and needy people who have come to Australia for help".
"We have no trouble putting ourselves in their shoes," the statement said. "We know what it is to be oppressed - we have experienced much of the past 200 years as oppression. We know what it is to be alienated and estranged in our own country. We know what it is to fear for the future of our families, our young people and our children.
"We know what detention centres are - our people were pushed onto reserves and had to have exemptions to leave them. Australian prisons have excessive numbers of our people. We know what it is to have no right of appeal - there was no appeal for our people either against protection and assimilation or against the taking of children."
The statement said Aboriginal people knew what it was to be powerless and to be refugees in their own land.
"For more than 200 years we have watched boat people come to our land. They came to escape poverty, persecution and the effects of war. They came to make a better life for themselves and their families," the statement said.
Aboriginal Catholic Ministry (SA)