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Catholic lobby group launches new campaign on asylum seekers

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) yesterday launched a strategy aimed at reforming Australia's Asylum Seeker policy in accordance with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

The initiative, called the Right of Entry campaign, will lobby the Federal Government, parliamentarians, and community leaders to have the Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Act 2001 repealed because it is in direct opposition to Catholic Social Teaching.

A Polmin statement quoted Pope John XXIII's insistence on the Right of Entry in his 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris: "Among a person's personal rights we must include their right to enter a country in which their hopes to be able to provide more fittingly for themselves and their dependents. It is therefore the duty of State officials to accept such immigrants."

The Polmin statement pointed our the timeliness of the campaign, which follows Federal Government decisions to establish a permanent off-shore assessment centre at Christmas Island, and to re-assess 160 applications for asylum by Afghan persons currently in detention.


14 Mar 2002