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Commission says support for refugees is working

The Executive Office of Brisbane's Archdiocesan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has said the Commission's appeals for compassion "are being heard", and that he hopes they will "influence decision makers so that the anxiety suffered by refugees can come to an end".

Peter Arndt made the observation yesterday as he urged Catholics to write letters of support for a member of the Tigers Eleven Refugee Soccer Club, who will submit an appeal against an Immigration Department decision to reject his application for permanent residence.

Shorkat Ali Naseri, a 24 year old Afghan, was granted a temporary protection visa which has now expired. His application for permanent residence has been rejected by the Immigration Department.

Mr Arndt said that community support from Catholics and others is being noted by the Immigration Department and the Refugee Review Tribunal.

"What people in the Brisbane Archdiocese are doing is being noticed and we believe it is having an effect for the better," Mr Arndt said.

"Our appeals for compassion are being heard and we hope they will influence decision makers so that the anxiety suffered by refugees can come to an end," he said.

"We don't want any of these refugees who have suffered so much to be put through any more anguish," he said.

"We encourage Catholics to write support letters for Shorkat so that the Tribunal sees that many people in the community want compassion and justice to be the guiding principles for the Tribunal's decisions," he said.

"Sending people like Shorkat back to Afghanistan would be cruel and unjust because it would mean more persecution and insecurity for him," he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission was sending information about Shorkat and a sample letter to parishes and to its network of contacts in the Archdiocese.

He also asked Catholics to support its efforts by making financial contributions to cover costs associated with supporting these appeals.

The Commission recently paid for the cost of a psychiatric report on one refugee who was submitting an appeal to the Tribunal.

More Support For Refugees Sought (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane 1/6/04)

Tiger 11 Refugee Soccer Club
Refugee Review Tribunal
Migration Seen as an Opportunity for Evangelization and Ecumenism (Zenit 31/5/04)
Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane

2 Jun 2004