Call for ‘Eminent Group’ to Manage Refugees
Tuesday, 2nd April 2002 at 1:04 pm
The Superintendent of Australia’s largest church-based charity the Rev Dr Gordon Moyes AC has called for the creation of a national commission of eminent people from government and non-government agencies to formulate a bi-lateral policy that will better manage the processing and settlement of refugees in Australia.
Dr Moyes, who heads Sydney’s Wesley Mission, said the Commission must be above party politics. Governments alone could not achieve a workable and sustainable asylum system.
Speaking at Wesley Mission’s Annual Easter Breakfast in Sydney, Dr Moyes said the Commission would seek just decisions, reduce costs, and enable Government to meet its obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, to offer security and protection to applicants, while promoting inclusiveness, trust and confidence in the procedure at home.
Dr. Moyes said the problem democratic countries have in deciding what to do with asylum seekers is that the majority of citizens want to retain tight control on the numbers of people entering their country. Our voters said, “Shut the doors”. So we need a new approach.
He said asylum seekers fleeing persecution and poverty in poor countries can and do add to Australia’s culture, and should be given every opportunity to find safety and a future here.
He said Australia needs to give priority to an education program that dispels false myths, supports the refugee and welcomes the stranger. Governments alone cannot achieve a workable and sustainable asylum system.
Dr Moyes called upon churches and community organisations to support those, who because of persecution and suffering could not obtain a passport, visa or documents that confirm their story.
He called on the Government to release women and children into the community and care of trained not-for-profit organisations who will care for and oversight them.
He said the planned new accommodation centre in South Australia will make children highly institutionalised and accommodation centres must be near population centres for schooling.
Dr Moyes also said that Australia could increase its immigration intake.
Dr Moyes offered Wesley Mission to the Government to mentor newer community welfare organisations involved in resettlement.
Wesley Mission was involved in directly resettling people such as the people from Vietnam in the early 1980s when Wesley Mission settled more orphan refugees than any other organisation.