Joint Statement of Uniting Vic Tas and the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.
We stand together in solidarity with refugees, people seeking asylum and their supporters across Australia to call out the injustices of Australia’s current immigration policies.
The Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania and Uniting Vic.Tas, its community services organisation, uphold the Christian teachings that encourage us to provide care and comfort to people seeking exile; treating them as equals and defending them against oppression and persecution. We support the creation of fair and efficient asylum processes underpinned by international human rights principles.
We have a long history of engagement with new arrivals to Australia and advocate for better treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. Our services assist many people seeking asylum in our community, some of whom have been waiting for many years for their applications to be resolved.
This Palm Sunday (28 March), we re-affirm our commitment to people who have been forced to flee war, violence and persecution. We recognise their courage, resilience and strength in facing the worst of humanity.
Fundamentally, we call for compassion, dignity and respect in how we treat people seeking our protection. Every life should be valued. Every person, no matter where they came from or how they arrived in Australia, deserves safety and security and to be able to fulfil the hope of a decent life for themselves and their family.
The Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees is an important opportunity to raise awareness of the continuing hardship experienced by refugees and people who are seeking asylum.
Starting in the 1980s, churches across Australia have joined together on Palm Sunday in capital cities across the country to march together for peace. This rally has gone on to become an annual ecumenical event that draws people from many faith and non-faith backgrounds to march together to show support for public policy issues that are of importance to them.
As part of this year’s Walk for Justice for Refugees, we’re calling on the Australian Government to immediately address a number of issues which we believe are crucial to improving the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in this country including:
- Introducing permanent visas for all refugees
- Basic income support for people in the community while their refugee status is assessed
- Releasing all refugees from detention
- An end to offshore processing
In Melbourne, the march will start at 1.30pm at the State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanson Street, Melbourne