An answer to prayer and advocacy

An answer for 450 refugees that was “a long time coming”

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has welcomed the New Zealand government’s announcement yesterday of 450 resettlement places over three years for asylum seekers who have been stuck on Nauru or incarcerated in Australia as part of our offshore arrangements.

In a media release issued yesterday, RCOA chief executive officer Paul Power thanked the New Zealand government for its generosity.

“Making these places available will make a life-changing difference to 450 of the refugees who have so far endured nine excruciating years suffering in Australia’s offshore arrangements, much of that time in locked detention,” Mr Powers said.

“Yesterday’s announcement will be welcomed by millions of Australians distressed by their government’s appalling mistreatment of refugees sent to detention in Nauru and Manus Island and disgusted by Australia’s previous refusal to accept New Zealand’s help.”

Long-term refugee campaigner Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins said the announcement was very welcome.

“It is an answer to both prayer and advocacy,” Bishop Philip told Eternity News by phone from Canberra.

“It has been a long time coming and we must continue with our prayer and advocacy until we have been able to set everyone free from indefinite detention, whether offshore or within Australia.

“And as we look ahead, let’s shape an Australian refugee policy that’s made on the basis of the clear choice to heal and never to harm. That is the way of Jesus; and his Holy Spirit inspires and encourages us to keep working for the day when our refugee policy – in fact, all our national policies – have that intention, to heal and never to harm.

The impassioned bishop continued: “Those who have been in indefinite detention for a long period of time will need much help to undertake the healing, both emotional and physical, that is the consequence of indefinite detention. We must surround them with all the supports they need, both here and through our friends in the US and our friends in NZ.”

“Let’s shape an Australian refugee policy that’s made on the basis of the clear choice to heal and never to harm.” – Philip Huggins

Bishop Philip is especially grateful for the partnership of Christians coming together “to help the healing power of the risen Lord Jesus to make these folk whole and free again”.

He also reminds us that there is still more to be done and urges Australian Christians to remain prayerful and continue to advocate for those in desperate circumstances brought on by war and climate change.

“More refugees are being added to the huge number of well over 80 million of displaced people globally. Let our prayers and advocacy continue for folk needing resettlement, safety and refuge, be they from Ukraine, Afghanistan, parts of Ethiopia, Eritrea or Myanmar.

“There is much to be done but all things come from God. Everything we have is of God; and following the One who was, and is, and is to come in the Easter spirit, we persist.”