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Tuesday, 06 November 2012 11:05

Religious condemn legislation to change migration zones

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The Sisters of St Joseph have expressed their strong condemnation at the proposal. "Josephites are shocked, horrified and deeply saddened by the measure before Parliament to excise the mainland from the migrations zone."

"This legislation shames us as Australians," said Josephite leader Anne Derwin.  ‘We were aware that the proposal was in the Houston Report, but believed that it was so opposed to Labor policy and such a blatant attempt to put politicking before human life, that it would not gain traction.  In this deeply troubling and disturbing turn of events, the Australian Parliament is failing us and the people who are in greatest need."

Also expressing grave fears regarding the proposal is Scalabrian Father Maurizio Pettena, Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office. 

“Australia has an exceptionally high level of regulation across our borders. Nonetheless, there will be times when people seeking asylum by boat will challenge this and our level of compassion” he said. “We should not give in to these challenges by disregarding our respect for human rights and the Refugee Convention,” said Fr Pettena.

“Australia is not immune to the conflict and persecution affecting those in other parts of the world. We are part of the global community and must act accordingly. The excision policy has disturbing ramifications for all other nations that have signed the Refugee Convention” he said. 

“We need to be cautious of the example we set for the rest of the world. If other nations choose to bypass the Convention then, as humanitarian crises emerge, people will have no place to go for protection and far more will have to travel longer distances to seek asylum.”       

“We need to reflect whether these restrictive policies contribute towards achieving justice and peace in the source countries caught up in the trials of war and ethnic violence” said Fr Pettena. 

Read the Media Statement from the Sisters of St Joseph

Read the Media Statement from the Australian Catholic Migrant Office