The issue that I thought, and still is, was a major example of social injustice was the asylum seekers trying to enter Australia via the west coast of Australia. This issue reached its climax around half a year ago or more where there were many refugees seeking a place to live, and were traveling illegally on boats.
There are many causes and consequences of asylum seekers trying to find refuge in Australia. The causes from a refugee’s viewpoint are freedom from poverty, persecution, war, and lack of personal safety.
These refugee’s who are fleeing from countries such Afghanistan, Palestine, etc are trying to gain a better life so they can be safe, healthy, and happy. For the government of Australia this situation created havoc because of the September 11th issue and created a National fear.
The Government had to think of Australia before it dealt with the refugees. Australia was in a stage of insecurity and fear and the Australian Government needed to assess its national safety and maintain its immigration policy. The consequences of refugees being held in the camps in Woomera were a continuing trend of racism towards Muslims, Middle-Eastern people, and people who were not alongside the United States. There was also a continuing distrust and uncertainty between countries as the war against terrorism was not and still is not finished. The other consequences of detaining refugees in camps are that Australia and the Government of Australia could be considered unjust, uncompassionate, and immoral.
This issue of refugees can be linked with two examples of Catholic social teaching and two examples of scripture. For an example of Scripture teachings, there are the Ten Commandments, which are the ten laws of living in harmony with god. Love thy neighbour is an example of how we should treat each other. It does not matter who they are and what their problems are. We should treat everyone equally and in this case, it is refugees. Another example is in the bible (Matthew 25:35) Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus are portrayed as refugees from the terror of King Herod and As asylum seekers is an enduring and challenging message from God; as are the words of Jesus Christ himself, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me”. If only Australia treated these asylum seekers as god treated Joseph, Mary, and Jesus then the conditions would be much better than they currently are.
An example of a catholic social teaching is “All people must be able to be part of and contribute to the society” and another example of a catholic social teaching is “Governments must promote justice. Governments must provide activities for the good of all people and
The refugee’s, who have to live in the refugee camps in Woomera, have to live in very poor conditions, sometimes no better then what they were fleeing from. The camps accommodate 1700 people and only have 40 toilets and 40 showers. Each room contains 18 people with only enough room for them to sit on their beds. The rooms have no fans or air conditioning and in summer the temperature has been as high as 55 degrees Celsius. In the winter the temperature plummets and after 30 people the showers run out of hot water. At lunchtime, the inmates queue for up to 2.5-3 hours but lunch is only served for 2 hours. Those who have not been served are sent away.
One of the organizations that work towards justice for the refugees is the Refugee Action Committee of Canberra. The R.A.C contributes a lot of their time and help to the refugees. One of the ways the R.A.C help the refugees out is by campaigning for changes in the system, which handles and looks after the refugees. The R.A.C organizes public demonstrations and has links to refugee action groups in other cities.
They have many demands, which need to be met so conditions can greatly improve for the refugees. For example, the R.A.C wants all asylum seekers to be released into the community while their claim is being assessed, and the detention centres closed. This would be a great improvement for the refugees, as they deserve to be treated like human beings. The R.A.C also ask for donations, which help out the refugees and the way they have to live they also ask the people who are making the donation if they would like to be involved in campaigning and demonstrations. This is a great way to introduce many more people into supporting the refugees.