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Tuesday, 13 December 2011 12:48

Compassion at Christmas

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“When we talk about the “Malaysia Solution” and the “Pacific Solution”, we’re giving in to the notion that refugees are a problem to be dealt with, rather than real human beings. We thought we’d focus the edition on showing the human side of refugees, in an effort to encourage a ‘Compassionate Solution’ to this issue”, said Australian Catholics Editor Michael McVeigh.

One of the people interviewed in the edition is Mercy Sister Joan Kelleher, who has spent time visiting those locked up in detention on Christmas Island through Jesuit Refugee Service. Sister Kelleher remembers a young Afghani man asking why he was being locked up for seeking freedom.

“Why is Australia locking me up when the only crime I have committed is to ask for protection?’ the young man asked. ‘I have never known peace, and my family are living in constant danger. I left Afghanistan to find a safe place for my family and here I am locked up in this prison.”

The ’12 Days of Christmas Challenge’ gives schools and parish communities 12 things they can do to improve the situation of refugees this Christmas. It includes becoming more informed about the issue, making contact with people in detention, and writing to politicians to advocate for real change.

“Some things you can do just sitting at your computer, while others might take a bit more time and effort. Even if people can’t do all 12 things, we’re hoping that taking a more compassionate view towards refugees will move people to do something more for them this Christmas season”, said McVeigh.

Find out more about the ’12 Days or Christmas Challenge’ here.  You can also share your stories and ideas on Facebook and Twitter @ #12daysrefugees.

Pick up a copy of the magazine from your school or parish, or contact 1300 72 88 46 to order a copy.