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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support

A message from Amnesty International.
The photograph is of two-year-old George (name changed). He was born in an open-air prison on Nauru and he’s spent his entire life there. George is just one of the 117 children our government is imprisoning on Nauru. Medical workers say that some of the children are now so traumatised by their family’s prolonged imprisonment, they may die if they are not released from their island prison. We rarely hear the names behind the numbers thanks to our government’s restrictions on reporting about offshore detention.

At this time of change in Australian politics, it’s time to change our approach to refugees and people seeking asylum.

This was a call from more than 60 people from 20 Melbourne Catholic parishes on Saturday 25 August.  They were gathered for the 14th Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support forum

A joint initiative between the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne campus, and the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, the Annual Bishop Joseph Grech Memorial Colloquium on Ethics and Migration provides an opportunity for prominent members in the Church and public figures to discuss current topics in migration. 
 
As part of our Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program, Catholic Social Services Victoria is hosting a forum for parishes, 'Helping our Refugee Families and Friends' on Saturday 25 August, at the Cardinal Knox Centre, 383 Albert Street, East Melbourne, from 9.30am - 1.00pm. For more information, contact Adrian Foley: adrian.foley@css.org.au
 
There is a great article in The Colac Herald by Ruby Manson about local priest, Father Michael O'Toole, and the valued contribution, role and achievements of the community's African migrants. Read the full article here.
Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers made the news in The New York Times.
"Lives are at risk and we’re unable to deal with the demand,” says Dr Tram Nguyen, the director of mental health services at Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub. "We’re going to see an increased risk of self harm and suicidality - we saw that in Nauru and Manus as policies become harsher." Read more of the report from Miki Perkins in The Age on 22 July 2018, here.
Our July edition of Catholic Parishes Serving the Community newsletter aims to highlight news and events of interest to Catholic parishes and social services agencies. It highlights the ways in which our parishes are assisting, or can further assist the pressing needs of refugees and people seeking asylum, and the ways in which parishes can assist people impacted by domestic and family violence. View the full newsletter, here.
The Australian Government is currently removing basic support payments for a significant number of people seeking asylum. In effect, over 7,000 people will lose their sole, basic source of income, which will have a devastating effect on many vulnerable people in our community. Many Catholic organisations across the country are already providing much-needed material support, however, in this particular time of need, we all are encouraged to do more to help. Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) has compiled a comprehensive list of the ways we can practically help.
 
 
 
Jesuit Refugee Services has welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback on the Department of Home Affairs Discussion Paper on Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2018 – 2019. Its feedback focusses on five areas:
1. Global compacts
2. Australia’s migration program and complementary pathways
3. Protecting forcibly displaced peoples in the Asia Pacific region
4. Onshore protection
5. Family Reunion
Read the full submission, here. 

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Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work.
 
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