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Bishop's increased concern over Baxter situation

Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees Chairman Bishop Joseph Grech has expressed sorrow and concern at the current situation at South Australia's Baxter Immigration Detention Centre.

It has been reported that a number of Asylum Seekers at Baxter have climbed onto the roof of the centre to protest at conditions there, and that some have sewn their lips together.

"The Church's concern for refugees in general and asylum seekers in detention in particular is well known," Bishop Grech said. "Australia's Catholic Bishops have frequently stated that there must be a better way of handling the cases of asylum seekers than the current arrangements.

"I pray for all those suffering at Baxter and I hope that the situation can be resolved with urgency and compassion."

Meanwhile the director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugees Office, Fr John Murphy, says the detainees need to consider their own well-being.

But he also called on the Federal Government to end the deadlock.

"If they haven't got any chance of being accepted in Australia not to keep them here," Fr Murphy said. "If they can be repatriated or if they can't, let them out on bridging visas or whatever, rather than just have them in a hopeless situation."

Catholic Bishop expresses concern at Baxter situation (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 10/12/04)
Catholic body calls for end to Baxter protest (ABC News 12/12/04)

Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Bishops Committee For Migrants And Refugees
Baxter Watch

Mercy nun sounds alarm on deportation of Christian Iranian (CathNews 18/10/04)
Bishop Grech says visa changes must go further (CathNews 26/8/04)
World Council of Churches head shocked by Baxter detention centre (CathNews 9/7/04)
Jesuit Centre condemns detention centre climate of violence (CathNews 10/8/04)
Church welcomes Govt change of heart on protection visas (CathNews 14/7/04)

More hunger strikers at Baxter (Courier-Mail/AAP 10/12/04)
Baxter detention centre reaches boiling point (Green Left Weekly 1/12/04)
Detention centre adopts the hard cell strategy (Sydney Morning Herald 29/7/04)

Integration of Immigrants Requires Balance, Says Pope (Zenit 9/12/04)
Migrants: Fr. Blume: Society Can No Longer Ignore Them Without Integration (Vidimus Dominum 11/12/04)
International Congress for Circus and Fair Workers (Vatican Information Service 10/12/04)

13 Dec 2004