6 November, 2016

Harsh immigration laws that ban asylum seekers on Manus Island or Nauru from ever entering Australia are cruel and draconian, the St Vincent de Paul Society says.

People currently stuck in the limbo of offshore incarceration are not the only ones that will be punished by the government’s proposed changes to the migration act.

“Should the law come into effect, it will prevent families from ever living together again,” said Dr John Falzon, the CEO of the Society’s National Council.

Dr Falzon said it was time for the federal government to stop pretending that offshore processing was unavoidable.

“Humane alternatives exist, but unless there are safe, legal and timely ways to seek asylum, people who fear for their lives will be forced to seek out irregular migration routes,” he said.

“We have no right to punish people on the basis of the means of transport they have used in their attempt to seek asylum”, he added.

He also called for the cessation of Australia’s punitive offshore detention regime, and for a sustainable regional approach based on compassion and fairness which was consistent with international law.

 

Media contact:  Belinda Cranston 0400 845 492