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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support
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. 

You are invited to join with other members of CAPSA on the 5th Anniversary of Kevin Rudd's announcement that all asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat after the 19th of July 2013 would be processed offshore and not be resettled in Australia. Since then anyone seeking asylum and protection arriving by boat have been placed in detention in Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island or Nauru. On Thursday 19th July 2018 CAPSA are calling for 15 minute lunchtime ‘Circles of Silence’ as we mourn and stand in solidarity with those people held in detention and refugees still trapped offshore..

In a recent media release Jesuit Refugee Service Australia reported that the Australian federal government has informed civil society organisations that it will cut over a thousand people seeking asylum off vital support services provided through the Status Resolution Support Program from the end of July. 

A screening of the uplifting film The Staging Post will be held on Sunday 12 August at St Michael's Parish, High Street, Ashburton, at 2pm. The documentary follows two Afghan Hazara refugees, Muzafar and Khadim. Stuck in Indonesia after Australia ‘stopped the boats’, and facing many years in limbo, they built a community and started a school which inspired a refugee revolution. People of all ages will enjoy it but it provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to take Year 5 to 12 students and talk about the issues facing refugees.


Today, more than ever, we need a global movement to demand that the safety and rights of refugees are protected. Refugee Week 2018, from Sunday 17 June to Saturday 23 June, is Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. It coincides with World Refugee Day today, Wednesday 20 June. Find out about the various agencies and initiatives taking place to support refugees and people seeking asylum.

“Our sense is that everyone is vulnerable, but at the moment the more acute presentations are the Let Them Stay cohort,” says Dr Tram Nguyen, medical director of specialist mental health services at Melbourne’s Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub. This comes in the aftermath of the Federal government's decision to end Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for several thousand asylum seekers on bridging visas, which came into effect in 2018.

The Australian Refugee Action Network is hosting its second national conference, Politics and Protest - the Fight for Refugee Rights, in Melbourne, on Saturday 7 - Sunday 8 July.  The conference is open to anyone interested in refugee activism and advocacy.
Download flyer, here.
On 20 June 2018, it is World Refugee Day. If you are in Ballarat on this date, treat yourself at a Soup and Sandwich Luncheon organised by the House of Welcome as part of national Refugee Week, 16 - 24 June.

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