Bishops update statement on refugees and asylum seekers
Media and community preoccupation with the issue of asylum seekers has prompted the Australian Bishops to issue a supplement to last July's Statement on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees.
Ahead of this morning's 10:00 am launch of the supplementary Statement, Conference President Archbishop Francis Carroll urged greater sensitivity to the situation in which asylum seekers find themselves.
"Clearly we need to be more sensitive to the plight of these people, many of whom have experienced hardship and pain most of us would find difficult to comprehend," he said. "There needs to be a more determined effort to recognise the human dignity and rights of our sisters and brothers from other countries and enable them to live with dignity and in safety as valued members of the human family."
The updated statement calls on the Australian Government to reconsider some of its policies, such as arbitrary and long detention and the abandonment of the "Pacific Solution", and renew its efforts to bring relief for refugees and asylum seekers.
Archbishop Carroll stressed that the challenge "is not only for the Government but for the whole Australian Community".
"As part of that Community," he said, "The Catholic Church pledges its continuing support for these suffering people".
Statement on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees - July 2001 (also in HTML)
Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A Statement by the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference (available after 10:00 am 26/3/02)
26 Mar 2002