The Uniting Church President, Al Macrae, and the Anglican Archbishop of Perth, Roger Herft, have just returned from a visit to asylum seekers on Christmas Island:
Rev. Macrae described the facilities as “basic but adequate for short-term needs. Accommodation overcrowding was clearly evident.” Rev. Macrae said, “It is disturbing to approach the detention centre, which is surrounded by a high fence topped with electrified wire. It looks like a high security prison.”
“Asylum seekers being processed at a reasonable speed appeared to be happy enough,” said Rev. Macrae, “however there is a high level of anxiety amongst those whose cases have taken longer to process. Those most distressed have been detained on Christmas Island for seven to eight months and more.”
The Uniting Church in Australia is a strong advocate for closing the detention centre on Christmas Island and processing asylum seekers on the mainland. While recognising the Detention Centre is unlikely to be closed in the short term, Rev. Macrae called for families and unaccompanied minors to be immediately transferred to the mainland for processing. “There is no reasonable justification for vulnerable children to be held in such a remote facility,” he said.
Read the full article at UnitingJustice Australia.