On behalf of Victoria's faith communities, we join together to call on all Australian political parties and leaders to treat asylum seekers with the respect they deserve, and to uphold their basic rights to seek asylum in Australia, and to work and contribute to the Victorian and Australian community.
All major faiths have a tradition of welcoming the stranger and the foreigner and assisting those in need, where every person is precious and entitled to live with dignity, and each person's life and rights are protected.
At the same time, we share the concerns of many in the community at the number of people who have perished as a result of attempting to arrive in Australia by boat to seek asylum.
As faith community leaders, we add our collective voice to that of many not-for-profit organisations, individuals, businesses and community groups who are seeking to ensure that all asylum seekers who are granted entry into Australia are afforded the right to work and the opportunity to sustain themselves as productive members of our community.
We call for:
Avoidance of the use of negative rhetoric and language that dehumanizes asylum seekers; undermines the integrity of the discussion on this complex humanitarian issue; and perpetuate misunderstanding and intolerance;
Immediate extension of the right to work to all asylum seekers released into the Australian community on bridging visas;
Adequate Commonwealth support and living allowances to asylum seekers living in the Australian community on bridging visas so that they can sustain themselves and their families whilst they await the outcome of their claim for protection; and
The Australian Government to work with other governments in our region, and globally, to find sustainable and, above all, compassionate solutions to the challenge of supporting asylum seekers.
This statement is supported by the following organisations and individuals:
Anglican Diocese of Melbourne
Buddhist Council of Victoria
Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
Islamic Council of Victoria
Jewish Community Council of Victoria
UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations
Uniting Church in Australia
For further information regarding this statement, please contact: David Marlow on 0407 389 919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne recognises and celebrates the unity that is found in our diversity, that is, the unity of human values which are found at the ethical core of each faith; values such as: peace, love, non-violence, right action, truth, and respect for the human family. We also recognise the differences between faiths, and the sensitivity and skill required to bring about successful interfaith encounters and dialogue.
The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
Promoting Understanding and Cooperation For Peaceful Coexistence