27-May-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Australian Bishops Speak Out on Treatment of Refugees on Manus Island

Developed Nations Called to Care for Refugees

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, May 27, 2014 (Zenit.org) - The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference is calling on the government to rethink its policies regarding the treatment of refugees in the country's largest detention center.

"An independent analysis showed that the current policy of Australia on migrants and refugees leads to tragic consequences," said the episcopal delegate for the migrant sector, Bishop Gerard Hanna, in a note sent to Fides Agency.

"This policy, which has a punitive approach towards refugees seeking protection is putting at risk the lives of many people: this is why we hope in a thorough review".

The bishops said that unrest is likely in the detention center in question, located on Manus Island, "where migrants and refugees will have no hope of a change in the situation".

In an effort to deter people from illegally entering the country, the note said, many refugees are being turned away by the Australian government. "The lack of recognition of fundamental human rights and this policy constitute a contempt for those who arrive on our shores in search of protection," said Bishop Hanna.

"Our government continues to turn a blind eye to those who leave their homeland due to violence and persecution" in the hope of a better life, he said. With the rise of refugees globally, the bishops' conference said "developed countries are called to accept the care for refugees, without measures that inflict harm and suffering".

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