In advance of a global focus on the rights and wellbeing of migrants and refugees, the St Vincent de Paul Society has welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s recent decision to support a parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention.
The policy was added to the ALP’s platform at the recent National Conference in Brisbane last month.
The society is urging the Albanese Government to commence the parliamentary inquiry before the end of this year. Backing the inquiry is one of the priority items in the society’s newly updated “policy on people seeking asylum”, which has been presented to the Australian Government.
“We believe that Catholic World Day of Migrants and Refugees, September 24, is a suitable time to focus attention on the secrecy that has surrounded immigration detention in the offshore facilities under Australia’s control as well as here on the mainland,” the society’s national president, Mark Gaetani, said.
Pope Francis’ theme for the day is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay”, highlighting that no one should be forced to flee their country seeking safety but if they do they should be welcomed and protected.
“Labor’s platform says we will treat people seeking our protection with dignity and compassion, and as a nation we must not harm people seeking refuge. But we need to know the full truth about the cruelty, both offshore and in Australia.”
The society calls on Catholics to use the booklet issued by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office to pray for all migrants and refugees on September 24.
As an immediate action for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the society invites Catholics to sign a letter from people of faith urging the transfer to Australia of refugees and people seeking asylum still held in Papua New Guinea. Australians are also invited to sign a similar letter to their federal MP.
Vinnies supports parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention (St Vincent de Paul Society)