Church leader calls for amnesty for detainees

Fr Malcolm Fyfe MSC (MSC)

Darwin Diocese has made a bold call for an amnesty for the roughly 800 detainees on Nauru and Manus Island in a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all federal parliamentarians. Source: Eternity News.

“As regards the detainees still on Nauru and Manus Island, why not consider the feasibility of a carefully planned, once and for all amnesty, with cross-party support, for as many of them as possible?” writes Fr Malcolm Fyfe MSC, Vicar General of Darwin Diocese, in the 200-plus letters posted to electoral offices last Friday.

Fr Fyfe wrote the letters to mark the sixth anniversary of the “Stop the Boats” campaign, when then-prime minister Kevin Rudd vowed that no person seeking asylum by boat would ever be resettled in Australia.

He wrote that Australia’s offshore processing regime – designed to deter boat arrivals – is “immoral in the most basic of ways: an evil act is engaged in for the purpose of achieving some good outcome”.

“How far can one go inflicting suffering on one group of people to prevent unrelated others from acting in a certain way?” Fr Fyfe said.

“Why stop at indefinite detention, which is already just a slightly civilised form of torture? Indeed, in my opinion, it has similarities with the use of ‘human shields’ in warfare.”

In his strongly worded letter, Fr Fyfe criticises government ministers for having “blatantly repudiated and debunked the raft of concerns raised by United Nations personnel, the Human Rights Commission, Church leaders, medical and legal experts, children’s welfare organisations and other highly principled members of the public. Our elected leaders simply take cover behind a Jericho Wall of total secrecy regarding Operation Sovereign Borders, the treatment of persons intercepted at sea and those in immigration detention centres generally.”

“Earlier legislation should not be so set in concrete as to justify a stubbornly maintained policy of keeping hundreds of fellow human beings locked away in our Offshore Detention Centres, with scant hope of reprieve in sight.”

Parramatta Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv. also called on the government and political leaders to find a humane solution to the plight of the remaining detainees on Nauru and Manus Island.

FULL STORY

Church leader calls for amnesty for detainees (Eternity News)

Open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison on asylum seekers (Darwin Diocese)

RELATED COVERAGE

Offshore detention ‘has not been a success’, refugee advocate says as thousands rally for refugees (The Catholic Leader

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