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Australian Archbishops' disquiet over offshore detentions

17 April 2014

DEMOTIX

Inclusive: people march through Central Brisbane in support of refugees held in offshore detention on Manus, Nauru and Christmas Islands, on Saturday. It was the first of a number of rallies in Australian cities at the weekend 

Inclusive: people march through Central Brisbane in support of refugees held in offshore detention on Manus, Nauru and Christmas Islands, on Sa...

ANGLICAN Archbishops in Australia have expressed their "profound disquiet" that about 1000 asylum-seeker children are being held in detention centres across Australia, and in the Australian offshore detention centre in Nauru.

They have called on the Australian government to "ensure that asylum-seekers are treated humanely and respectfully by those charged with their care and protection, and that they are attended to in a timely manner".

The joint statement, issued on the eve of Holy Week, was signed by the Primate, the Most Revd Dr Phillip Aspinall; Archbishop Glenn Davies (Sydney); Archbishop Jeffrey Driver (Adelaide); Archbishop Philip Freier (Melbourne); Archbishop Roger Herft (Perth); and the Rt Revd John Harrower, Bishop of Tasmania, an extra-provincial diocese.

The statement says that while the Federal Government has been drawing attention to the number of days without boat arrivals, "this is another set of numbers that needs close scrutiny." The detained children, it says, are "innocent victims of tragic circumstances", and should be detained only "as a measure of last resort, and for the shortest appropriate time. . . As church leaders, we are not seeking to express a political opinion on this."

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