In this Embracing Diversity issue of The Record it is our pleasure to bring you articles from high-profile refugee advocates such as Julian Burnside QC and John Menadue AO, in addition to a nine-page report from our very own Vincentian Refugee Network (VRN). The VRN is coordinated by the Society’s National Research Officer, Rik Sutherland, and there are efforts afoot to set up similar networks on a host of other social justice topics. See page seven for more details.

As Karenna Alexander from the Society in NSW mentions in her piece, to discuss immigration policy we must firstly acknowledge that the situation has been changing at a remarkable rate. For example, on 25 September, 2014, the government announced it had struck a deal with the Palmer United Party that will more than likely see the reintroduction of TVPs and a new visa called a safe haven enterprise visa (SHEV). Neither would allow for permanent settlement in Australia, leaving refugees in a state of uncertainty about their futures, and unable to reunite with their families.

On a tragic note, and as indication of the complications that arise from off-shore processing, on 5 September, 2014, a 24-year-old asylum seeker, Hamid Kehazaei, died in a Brisbane hospital, after developing a severe infection on Manus Island after he cut his foot. Vigils were held across the country to mark the young man’s tragic death.

At the time of going to print, the so-called ‘Cambodian deal’ is imminent, and there are grave concerns about the human rights record of Cambodia and other countries Australia has entered into agreements with. For instance, there are real fears for some detainees who may encounter persecution because homosexuality is illegal in Papua New Guinea.

The Embracing Diversity issue of The Record also includes articles on the topic of embracing gender equality, as well as racial and cultural differences. We invite you to read the words of your fellow Vincentians and human rights advocates with an open heart.

(To download The Record click on the PDF link below)