Sunday, 25 June 2017
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‘We are not at war with asylum seekers’

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia has called on Minister Scott Morrison to take a more rational approach to Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.

“We are not at war with asylum seekers,” said Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon. “People seeking protection in our country are not the enemy. It’s time our government stopped referring to them in this manner. It’s time we took a rational and sensible approach instead of resorting to inhumane actions and paranoid language.

“Many parts of the world continue to experience terrible conflict and human rights violations, leading to tens of millions of displaced people worldwide.  Australia is the destination of a proportionally small number of people seeking asylum in comparison to other countries. The overwhelming majority of those who seek asylum here are found to be refugees.  And then, when embraced by our community, there is strong evidence they contribute enormously to our nation.

“It’s time we replaced paranoia with practicality. It’s time we started being rational in our approach to processing applications for refugee status,” Dr Falzon said.

“It’s time we replaced paranoia with practicality. It’s time we started being rational in our approach to processing applications for refugee status,” Dr Falzon said.

National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, said: “Our members are deeply disturbed by the treatment being meted out to people who have been pushed onto the seas by situations of suffering and persecution.

“We are shocked and ashamed by our nation’s inhumanity to these people, who have every right to seek asylum under the UN Refugee Convention to which Australia is a signatory.

“According to statistics released by the department on December 31st 2013, there are 1028 children in detention centres and alternative places of detention plus a total of 2067 men, women and children in off-shore processing centres in places such as Nauru and PNG,” Mr Thornton said.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society works with like-minded organisations to promote the rights and positive contributions asylum seekers make to the community, if they are given the chance to thrive rather than being deprived of basic human rights.”

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, the St Vincent de Paul Society urges government to maintain a clear, legislated right of Complementary Protection for asylum seekers who face significant harm if they return home. This protection is a human right recognised under international law, and the submission argues it should not become a ministerial discretion.

Read Vinnies Refuge Policy and most recent submission to a government inquiry on asylum seeker issues by clicking on this link to the Our Impact section of this website.

About Vinnies

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation working towards a more just and compassionate society.

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