THE Anglican Church of Australia's migrant and refugee working
group has added its voice to protests that have erupted since the
death of an Iranian asylum-seeker, Reza Berati, in Australian
detention on Manus Island. Mr Berati, who was 23, died in a riot at
the centre last week. Detainees were also injured.
The Rt Revd Philip Huggins, a regional bishop in the diocese of
Melbourne, who chairs the working group, has called for a review of
Acknowledging that the federal government had a mandate to "stop
the boats", Bishop Huggins said that the implementation of
government policies was "causing great harm" and was a matter of
"moral distress to many Australians".
These policies now meant that children were being held in
detention centres, and "off-shore processing" meant little more
than "holding asylum-seekers in crowded, sub-standard conditions
without processing towards any kind of futures". Asylum-seekers on
shore were being driven into poverty and depression without access
to education or employment, he said.
"A civilised government must be able to control its refugee
intake without resort to measures of intentional cruelty.
Conscience cries out for a review of current implementation
Thousands attended candlelit vigils held around the country on
Sunday night in response to Mr Berati's death.