Cath News report: Moving children and vulnerable families out of immigration detention centres into community-based accommodation is a major step forward in giving asylum seekers a 'fair go', says Catholic Religious Australia.
Father Tim Norton SVD, Acting President of CRA, the peak body for leaders of religious orders and institutes, said the announcement by the Gillard Government was a positive move in the way Australia understands its obligations to people fleeing war, poverty and violence.
"Giving people a 'fair go' is in the Australian psyche; we must put this into practice especially with the most vulnerable - the children," he said in a media statement.
"The location of most detention facilities, along with their overcrowded nature, means that children suffer unnecessary emotional and educational deprivation.
Australia can and should do much better than this. It is important for ALL children to be living in suitable accommodation with appropriate supervision and with access to good educational and healthcare facilities."
Father Norton added that many of CRA's members - including the Jesuits, Sisters of Mercy, Loreto Sisters and Christian Brothers through the Edmund Rice Centre - have been supporting asylum seekers and refugees for many years.
"Being an asylum seeker is not a crime. These people are among the most vulnerable," said Sister Caroline Ryan, RSM, Vice President of the Institute of Sisters of Mercy Australia. "As women committed to the Gospel, it is our privilege and duty to advocate for them."
Sister Caroline added that a number of Mercy congregations have made housing available to refugee families, as have other Church agencies.
"It is important to say that no housing stock that will be used for these families would be taken from housing for those who are great need such as homeless men and women." http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=23849