Jesuits warn on refugee cuts

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Over 300 people rallied in support of asylum seekers and refugees outside the Broadmeadows Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) Centre on Sunday 28th April 2013. Photo: Takver/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/8688169815
Over 300 people rallied in support of asylum seekers and refugees outside the Broadmeadows Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (MITA) Centre on Sunday 28th April 2013. Photo: Takver/Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/takver/8688169815

After funding drop, the situation in Australia is critical, says JRS

Australia’s Jesuit Refugee Service says that the “urgent and complex needs” of the country’s asylum seekers has reached a critical stage following severe cuts to the Federal Government’s Status Resolution Support Service.

“Every day our JRS case workers see first-hand the various ways that SRSS cuts are putting women, men and their children at greater risk of destitution, hunger, homelessness and danger, especially those already living in precarious conditions,” said the director of JRS Australia Carolina Gottardo.

“The urgent needs of the people we serve have reached a critical stage.”

The JRS in response has launched its winter appeal to help fund its assistance to 3000 asylum seekers living in the community who are homeless or facing homelessness and destitution with emergency assistance including access to a foodbank, a temporary shelter, specialist casework, English classes and employment support.

Ms Gottardo’s appeal comes as the Government was slammed for breaking international law in its approach to refugees by a leading research centre on international refugee law.

Migrant woman and child
A migrant woman holds a child as she walks outside a camp in Diavata, Greece, April 5, 2019. Many migrants and refugees cross Greece en route to North Macedonia, a country Pope Francis will visit May 7. PHOTO: CNS/Alexandros Avramidis, Reuters

Australia’s violating its obligations

The University of NSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law released a “non-partisan, fact-backed refugee policy agenda” on 13 June that outlines how Australia can develop both a more practical and humane approach to refugees.

“Australia is violating many of our international obligations and it is really out of step with what other comparable countries are doing,” director of the centre Jane McAdam told media.

“Every person has a right to seek asylum.

“As a matter of international law people who come here in search of protection have not broken the law.

“Australia is actually breaking the law by not offering people protection when they are in need of it.”

Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, the Centre’s deputy director, said Australia’s recent, “politically polarising asylum policies” have “weakened social cohesion in our communities, decreased our credibility internationally, and demonstrated a head-in-the-sand failure to address the growing number of displaced people worldwide”.

“Even worse, they have failed to provide humane, lasting solutions for people in desperate need of protection,” he said.

Ms Gottardo said that people seeking protection in the country endure ongoing “high levels of distress”.

“While they try to secure a life free from violence, fear and persecution they are confronted with a system filled with hurdles to get over in order to get a protection visa and numerous barriers to finding employment to support themselves and their children,” she said.

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