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Bishop calls Govt detainee release "a small but welcome step"

The Federal Government's decision to release some long term immigration detainees was a small but welcome step towards a more compassionate detention policy, Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees chairman Bishop Joseph Grech said yesterday.

Bishop Joseph Grech, of Victoria's Sandhurst Diocese, said that while the release of a small number of people from immigration is a positive move, their long term future remains up in the air.

"Some immigration detainees have been in detention for more than five years, many without any hope of release," Bishop Grech said. "Many cannot go back to their homeland without real risk of persecution and death. They are caught in the no-mans-land of the immigration detention system.

He said that the Government is to be applauded for showing some compassion to these fellow human beings at Easter time.

"It has moved some way towards a reasonable solution to a very difficult problem, but there is still a long way to go."

Bishop Grech said a long term alternative must be found to the current policy of locking people up for indefinite periods.

"The Government's initiative is very welcome. But much more needs to be done."

Govt release of some detainees a small but welcome step - Catholic Bishop (Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 23/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

Christian convert detainees may be allowed to stay (CathNews 21/3/05)
Diocese lobbies local member on behalf of detainee (CathNews 8/3/05)
Church call for scrutiny of plight of all detainees (CathNews 11/2/05)

Graham Sherry: Let's tap the rich talents of migrants (The Age 23/3/05)
Govt eases detainee stance (ABC TV Lateline 23/3/05)
'Compassionate' Govt creates new visa (ABC TV Lateline 23/3/05)
Bittersweet win for family to stay in Australia (Catholic Leader 27/3/05)
Refugees must pay high price for freedom (Sydney Morning Herald/Australian Associated Press 24/3/05)
Editorial: Undoing the refugee harm (The Australian 23/3/05)
William Maley: PM suddenly finds a heart (The Australian 24/3/05)

24 Mar 2005