CategoryRefugee Ethics

A Prayer for Rohingya and Manus Refugees


This is a prayer I wrote to use in my church. Feel free to use it in yours. Lord Jesus, We come to you who once was a refugee, To plead the cause of those who today are refugees. We come to you as the One who hears the cry of the poor & oppressed, And call you to hear the cry of the Rohingya of Myanmar And the despairing on Manus Island. We pray for the Rohingya, fleeing military violence in...

The most persecuted people on earth


They have been described as “the most persecuted people on earth”  and they are now the subjects of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crisis. The Rohingya are  a stateless ethnic minority who live in the Rakhine, an area on the western side of Myanmar. They are the people no-one wants. Although the Rohingya have been present in Myanmar since the 12th century, the...

This Country is Leading the Way on Refugees…and It’s Identity Will Surprise You


Of all the nations in the world that host refugees,  the country leading the way is none other than the African nation of Uganda. It has a population of 34 million, many of whom live in poverty and in the last few years has taken in more than 1 million refugees.  What sets Uganda apart  is the support and welcome it gives to refugees.  Every refugee household is given access to land that they...

The truth is now plain to see. There were no hordes of refugees making their way to Australia


As the number of  refugees and asylum seekers arriving to Australia by boat rose sharply in 2012 and 2013, the  major political parties engendered a state of moral panic.  The long-standing debate over push versus pull factors  was resolved in favour of pull factors; that is,  it was finally agreed that Australia’s policies of welcoming  refugees and asylum seekers  made Australia an...

An anniversary I’d rather not be celebrating


This week marks the fourth anniversary of the decision by the Rudd-Gillard government to detain unauthorised asylum seekers in offshore detention centres and never permit them entry to our county. Today the system is on the verge of collapse, with the Manus centre declared illegal by the PNG Supreme Court, the government of Nauru refusing to keep people detained, and the deal with the US to...

There’s so much we can do if we work together


Do you remember that amazing scene in Perth in 2014 when a commuter fell into the gap between a train and the station platform?  The commuter was stuck, and then something incredible happened. Hundreds of people put their shoulders against the train, took up the strain, and pushed. They managed to shift the train just enough for the trapped commuter to  get free. It was an exhibition of our...

A Prayer for Syria and Syrian Refugees


Civil war broke out in Syria in 2011 after the Assad regime resisted the regional movement towards democracy known as “the Arab Spring”. Initially a war between the government and a rebel movement, the rise of ISIS has added a third major party to the conflict. The situation is made more complex by the presence of outside interests, with Russia supporting the Syrian government, the United...

Three questions for the Prime Minister


Dear Prime Minister, I followed with some interest the speeches on Australia’s approach to the refugee crisis that you gave this week in New York. Given you have commended Australia’s approach to the rest of the world, I have a few questions I would like to ask. 1. If every country adopted Australia’s approach, where would refugees go? Australia’s approach is built on the...

Moral cowardice, moral courage and 1296 human beings in offshore detention


A few years ago I went to a workshop where we were invited to participate in a guided imagination exercise in which we imagined ourselves inside a bubble floating through time seeing what our lives would be like in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. I engaged in that exercise this week, not imagining my own life in 5, 10, 20 years but imagining what life would be like for the 1296 people held in...

What’s happening with the Syrian refugees Australia agreed to take?


In September last year the federal government committed to taking a once off tranche of 12,000 refugees from Syria in addition to the 13,750 people who would be granted humanitarian visas each year. So what’s been happening? I wrote to the Department and they replied informing me that the government had set itself a timeframe of delivering all 12,000 places within two years (which I assume...


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