Australian Bishop welcomes changes to detention system

Prime Minister John Howard's announcement of changes to immigration detention laws is a welcome step towards a more humane treatment of asylum seekers, said Bishop Joseph Grech, the chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees yesterday.

Bishop Grech (pictured) said he particularly welcomed the announcement that families with children would be placed in community housing rather than behind razor wire in detention centres while their claims are being assessed.

"This is a very welcome, but long overdue move towards a more compassionate immigration detention system," he said.

"We are also pleased to see an increased emphasis from the government on processing asylum claims in a more timely manner.

"There is no doubt that Australians have become increasingly disturbed about people, including some children, being held for long periods of time in detention and this appears to be a step in the right direction in addressing that situation."

Bishop Grech said while concerns remained about the conditions of those granted Temporary Protection Visas and about other aspects of immigration policy, the changes announced by the government were welcome, particularly for families seeking asylum.

Catholic Bishop welcomes changes to detention system (Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference 20/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorced by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference | Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees
Australian Catholic Migrant & Refugee Office
Jesuit Refugee Service
Mercy Refugee Service
Australian Government: Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

Benedict XVI: Message for World Refugee Day (CathNews 20/6/05)
Parish stands up for rejected asylum seeker family (CathNews 28/2/05)
Church call for scrutiny of plight of all detainees (CathNews 11/2/05)
World Day for Migrants & Refugees: Pope stresses "integration" (CathNews 18/1/05)
Vatican official says refugee rights "remain mere words" (CathNews 7/10/04)
Churches celebrate diversity on Refugee and Migrant Sunday (CathNews 17/8/04)
Refugee increase wins Church praise (CathNews 25/3/04)
Pope raises refugee question with Hobart archbishop (cathNews 16/3/04)

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21 Jun 2005