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Christian Brothers join call to let Timorese stay

The Province Leader of the Christian Brothers in NSW/ACT has urged the Federal Government to grant 1600 East Timorese refugees a special visa category to allow them to stay in Australia.

The people in question arrived in the country between 1991 and 1995. The Refugee Review Tribunal recently rejected their claims for asylum, after Department of Immigration processing which has taken up to 10 years.

The province leader - Br Laurie Needham - said East Timorese who arrived just a few months earlier - with exactly the same claims - had received refugee status.

"They have become part of Australian society; they have settled here and have contributed positively to the community," he told the Catholic Weekly. "We urge the Australian Federal Government to grant these asylum seekers a special visa category."

The Christian Brothers and their co-workers are in East Timor in order to work alongside the East Timorese on the challenges facing them in areas of health and education.

"From the East Timorese we learn valuable lessons of justice and compassion," said

Catholic Weekly

St Mary's Province, Christian Brothers
Letter from East Timor

15 May 2003