Bishop of Parra writes to PM Rudd
Dear Mr Rudd,
The Diocese of Parramatta is home to a large number of asylum seekers, humanitarian refugees and a sizeable Sri Lankan population. That being the case, the current situation regarding the boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers returned to Indonesia is particularly worrying.
Your government is to be congratulated on the important changes you have made to the situation of refugees and asylum seekers coming to Australia. The abolition of the temporary protection visa, the closing down of Manus Island and Nauru, and the elimination of charges for stays in detention centres have transformed the lives of people seeking asylum in our country.
It would be a tragedy if these positive changes were to be undermined by an over-reaction to those accusing your government of being “soft” on asylum seekers.
As you are aware around 250,000 internally displaced Tamils have been, for the past 5 months, segregated into camps in Sri Lanka with extremely poor facilities and limited access to aid from NGOs. Reports indicate increasing levels of desperation when faced with water shortages, sickness and limited food supplies. More.
Yours sincerely, Bishop Kevin Manning, Bishop of Parramatta.