According to the ABC, “the Federal Government is preparing to announce plans to release of asylum seekers from detention and allow them to live in the community while their applications for asylum are being assessed.” Read the full article here.
Uniting Church President Rev Al Macrae comments:
This is a long overdue common-sense decision, given all that we know about the devastating effects of the detention environment on the mental health of asylum seekers, especially children.
We are pleased and relieved that the Government appears to be re-committing itself to uphold the Immigration Detention Values statement it adopted early on in its first term.
Housing children and young people behind fences, without adequate freedom of movement or opportunities for education and play, while under constant guard, has caused tremendous unrest, misery and depression.
Today’s announcement will provide a great relief for parents who will regain the right to raise their children in a safe and suitable environment. It will also go some way to rebuilding our international reputation as a decent and hospitable country.
The Uniting Church will do all it can to support the Government’s plan to house minors and children with families in the community. We will also continue to work for improvements to the reception and processing systems for people who come to Australia’s shores seeking our protection.