Catholic Church Against Refugee Resettlement Proposal in Cambodia
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Thursday 1 May 2014
Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) is appalled that the Australian
Government is considering a policy of resettling refugees in Cambodia.
The proposal will mean that asylum seekers seeking protection in Australia will
be transferred to Nauru where their application will be assessed. Any
individual identified as a refugee will be resettled in Cambodia.
However Bishop Gerard Hanna, Australian Catholic Bishops Delegate for Migrants
and Refugees said “Resettlement is about integrating refugees from poverty and
oppression into a community that has the capacity to provide economic and
social opportunities as well as peace and safety.”
“If the Australian Government is serious about expanding resettlement
opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, negotiations should commence with
nations who have the resources to support refugees, such as Singapore, Japan,
Korea and New Zealand.”
“Any attempts to expand resettlement should concentrate on the resettlement of
refugees from countries experiencing humanitarian crisis, not from developed
nations redirecting asylum seekers, which is the current policy in Australia,”
Bishop Hanna explained.
“It is unacceptable to place pressure on Cambodia to resettle refugees from
Australia at a time when so many poorer nations are struggling to host
significantly larger refugee populations,” he added.
The ACMRO is particularly concerned about the capacity of Nauru to provide
asylum seekers with the adequate language support, pastoral care and legal
assistance required to conduct fair refugee status determination