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Stop splitting up families!

Posted on: July 22, 2002 11:41 AM
Related Categories: Australia

The head of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Peter Carnley, today called on the Federal Government to cease splitting up the families of asylum seekers.

"The plight of the two young boys who were recently returned to detention illustrates the inhumanity of the Government's policy," Dr Carnley said.

"It is simply not possible to justify a policy which tears families apart and keeps family members in isolation."

Dr Carnley said he had grave doubts that the practice of imprisoning children was warranted, and that there were many examples of allowing people to live in the community while awaiting the determination of their fate.

"In Australia, imprisonment should be a punishment of last resort, not a first resort," he said.

"If we can allow people to be released on bail for criminal offences - as we should - why not people whose only crime is to have come here without joining a non-existent queue in some war-ravaged part of the world?" Dr Carnley asked.

Archbishop Carnley also questioned the Government's stated reason for returning the children to detention.

"The excuse that the children in this case may be of a different nationality to that claimed for them is feeble and unproven," he said. "It symbolises a flawed policy which is overdue for radical review."

"Governments have a duty to show moral leadership," Dr Carnley said. "The Prime Minister has shown in the past that he is capable of such leadership. In dealing with asylum seekers, his Government appears to be pandering to the most uncharitable and xenophobic elements in our community."

Article from: The Anglican Church of Australia General Synod by Peter Carnley