Eight Years Too Long. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands issued a letter to the Australian Parliament on Monday, 19 July 2021, marking eight years since the government legislated for the mandatory, offshore detention of asylum seekers arriving by boat after19 July 2013, and the prohibition on them of ever settling in Australia.
The full letter, signed by Rev. Father Giorgio Licini, a PIME missionary, and the General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands, can be read and/or downloaded below.
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An open letter from the Bishops' Conference of Papua New Guinea to the Australian Parliament: today is the anniversary of the start of the policy of diverting all refugee boats away from Australian territory. Figures from the Refugee Council of Australia: 132 refugees still held in Australian prisons; 233 forcibly confined in Papua New Guinea and Nauru; 14 dead. 'End colonial behaviour that denies people dignity'.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, chair of the Catholic Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, has welcomed an open letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to the Australian Parliament.
“Our brother bishops are right to point out that those who continue to be detained on Manus and Nauru, who cannot return to their place of origin and who have no path to resettlement elsewhere, should be resettled here in Australia,” he said.
Bishops have appealed to the Australian government to provide homes for asylum seekers who have been detained in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Father Giorgio Licini, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, has sent an open letter to Australian Senate president Scott Ryan and House of Representatives speaker Tony Smith.
Cover image: Manus Island detention centre (Refugee Action Coalition file photo)