Violence on Manus Island

18 February 2014
Violence on Manus Island

The Uniting Church in Australia has expressed sorrow over the tragic loss of life on Manus Island

“The Church is deeply concerned about the death of one asylum seeker and the injury of so many others,” said President of the Uniting Church, Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney.

“Sadly this tragedy was both predictable and preventable. The Australian Government has placed vulnerable people in a situation where their basic needs are not being met.

“These individuals have fled violence and horror in their homelands – and have now been exposed to it yet again as a direct result of Australian Government policies.”

Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, has reiterated the Church’s call to end offshore processing.

“The Uniting Church has always been opposed to the offshore processing of asylum seekers. We have been increasingly alarmed at the effects of the harsh and punishing conditions on Manus and Nauru. Australia must protect people not place them in situations of harm.

“The warehousing of asylum seekers in inadequate facilities in these offshore centres is entirely unacceptable. It is a breach of our obligations under international law and diminishes us as a nation.

“The Government must move immediately to close the centres and transfer all asylum seekers to safety here on the Australian mainland. We cannot continue to risk the lives of asylum seekers for the sake of these inhumane policies,” said Rev. Poulos.