The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane have commended former Australian cricket captain, Ian Chappell, for taking a stand for a fairer and more humane policy on refugees.
Ian Chappell’s concerns about Australia’s refugee policy were aired on ABC TV’s Australian Story last night.
The Commission urges Australians to face up to the truth of what is being done to asylum seekers in their name and take action to bring about a change in Australia’s refugee policy.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that it was heartening to see a prominent Australian, who is not normally associated with social and political campaigns, come out so strongly and passionately on such a contentious issue.
“Ian Chappell has seen the media coverage of what we are doing to refugees who arrived on boats and has visited refugees in a detention centre and is speaking the plain truth when he says what we are doing to refugees is shameful,” Mr Arndt said.
“Locking up people, including children, in detention centres for very long periods and treating them like criminals is simply not humane,” he said.
“It isn’t giving people a fair go as Ian Chappell says,” Mr Arndt said.
Mr Arndt pointed out that even when asylum seekers who arrive on boats and are assessed as refugees by Australian authorities they are treated shabbily.
“The Centre for Refugee Research at the University of New South Wales has just released a report on the second-rate treatment of refugees who are granted a Temporary protection visa,” Mr Arndt said.
“Even though they are judged to be legitimate refugees, they are given temporary rather than permanent visas and receive reduced entitlements because they came here on boats,” he said.
“It simply isn’t giving people who have gone through a great deal to escape persecution a fair go as one of our Commission members, Camilla Cowley, has pointed out for a long time,” he said.
Camilla Cowley manages the Tigers Eleven, a soccer team made up of young refugees who have been granted Temporary Protection Visas.
“Camilla has an intimate knowledge of what these boys were fleeing, what they have gone through to get here, how they’ve been treated, and the fears, uncertainties and difficulties they face because of Australia’s current refugee policy,” Mr Arndt said.
“Just like Ian Chappell, she is outraged at the unfairness and inhumanity of what is being done to them,” he said.
“The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission pleads with people to open their hearts, to see the truth of what is being done to refugees and to urge a more compassionate, fair and humane refugee policy as Ian Chappell and Camilla Cowley do,” he said.
Released by the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane