Jesuit Social Services has joined the calls to immediately bring people seeking on Nauru to Australia in light of the leaked ‘Nauru files’ which allege countless cases of abuse, sexual assault and self-harm of people in Australia’s care.
“Jesuit Social Services believes that the mandatory and indefinite detention of people seeking asylum in Australia, and who are often fleeing trauma and persecution in their home countries, is inhumane and directly in breach of our responsibility to respect the human dignity of those in our care,” says Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards.
Ms Edwards says the organisation supports the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum, of which Jesuit Social Services takes a lead role, in calling on the Federal Government to establish a Royal Commission to investigate the human rights abuses evident in offshore detention.
“Only weeks after the country was horrified by evidence of abuse and brutalization of children within Northern Territory’s youth detention system, we are again appalled at systemic failings that have harmed men, women and children who have done nothing illegal by seeking asylum in Australia,” she says.
“The Australian public, and more importantly the more than 1,000 people stuck in limbo in Australian-funded detention centres, deserve a Royal Commission to investigate the human rights abuses that have happened on our watch.”
Jesuit Social Services has also rejected claims from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton that Australia is not responsible for refugees in offshore detention.
“Australia has a legal and a moral obligation to protect and care for people who come here in search of asylum. The UNHCR Convention on the Status of Refugees demands that we process the claims of people seeking asylum promptly, fairly and with respect to the human dignity of each individual,” says Ms Edwards.
“Clearly, these leaked files show us that this is not the case. Instead, people who have attempted to come to Australia in search of protection and better lives have suffered heart-wrenching abuse and trauma.
“Keeping innocent people imprisoned in cruel and inhumane environments goes against everything we stand for as a nation: tolerance, understanding and giving everybody a fair go.We urge leaders from all political parties to take urgent action that millions of Australian citizens are demanding: to bring an immediate end to the use of offshore detention and a resettling of all people on Nauru and Manus Island in Australia where their claims for asylum will be processed in a timely manner.”
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