The Uniting Church’s National Assembly has adopted a new refugee and asylum seeker policy titled Shelter from the Storm.
Proposed by UnitingJustice, the policy calls on the Australian Government to adopt a range of measures directed at supporting asylum seekers and refugees.
In the policy’s recommendations, UnitingJustice calls for Australia to base its response unequivocally on humanitarian principles and to abandon mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers.
UnitingJustice Reference committee chair Rosemary Dawson said the community is increasingly aware of the plight of asylum seekers and refugees and that action must be taken address the issue.
“We have heard reports from Amnesty International and the Human Rights Commission about the appalling conditions in detention centres and the devastating effects of prolonged detention, particularly on children,’’ she said.
A recent report released by Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre has indicated that more asylum seekers have died on Manus Island than have been resettled.
Elaine Pearson, the Australian director for Human Rights Watch, reiterated widespread calls to end the policy of offshore processing.
“After two years, Australia’s experiment in offshore detention has been a disaster,” Ms Pearson said.
“Even the few people provided refugee status have been denied freedom of movement and the right to work. All should be allowed to move on with their lives in dignity and security.”
Click here for more information and to read the policy.