2023 Refugee Week: Vinnies call for dignified treatment of asylum seekers

21 June 2023

St Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) is marking Refugee Week by calling on the Albanese Government to end Australia’s cruel offshore detention system and to treat asylum seekers in the community with dignity.

‘Refugee Week’ is an important opportunity to highlight community concerns about the Australian Government’s cruel and harmful refugee and asylum seeker policies,’ National President Mark Gaetani said.

‘This year’s theme of Finding Freedom is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with refugees and to reflect on what freedom means and how Australians can help refugees achieve it,’ Mr Gaetani said.

‘The Society, on behalf of our Vincentian Refugee Network and our 45,000 members, has long argued for offshore processing to be abolished and for asylum seekers and refugees on PNG and Nauru to be resettled in Australia, except where there are national security considerations.

The Society urges the Government to work with Indonesia to assess asylum seekers there and consider accepting those found to be refugees within Australia’s increased humanitarian intake.’

Mr Gaetani added:

‘This should begin in 2023-24 and the same approach should be extended to refugees in similar circumstances in other countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, and India.

‘SVDP also calls for the Government to urgently increase funding to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS).

‘SRSS needs to be restored to its previous levels and greater assistance must be provided to help people navigate Australia’s complex social services system, including access to Special Benefit.’

Resources

The Canadian film, Finding Freedom, by writer and director Alan Goldman, tells the stories of four asylum seekers detained for years by the Australian government. More information about the documentary can be found here

For more information on the St Vincent de Paul advocacy position on refugees and asylum seekers, visit www.vinnies.org.au

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