Friday, 19 October 2018

Time to get #KidsOffNauru

John Wilson pictured with Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller of the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta at the rally in Canberra John Wilson pictured with Archdeacon Peter MacLeod-Miller of the Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta at the rally in Canberra

Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer has joined faith and community leaders in calling for children being held in detention on Nauru to be brought to safety in Australia.

The call was made as more than 800 people converged in front of Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday at a rally organised by Rural Australians for Refugees.

Canberra Presbytery Co-Chair John Williams read the letter on behalf of Dr Palmer calling on political leaders to act with compassion and decency.

“These children have sought the protection of Australia from situations of war and persecution. They should be treated with care and respect,” said Dr Palmer in her letter.

“Our principled protest against their continued detention is not only rooted in the Gospel values we are called on as Christians to uphold - it is a fundamental and universal principle of human decency.”

“For the love of God, now is the time. Let’s get the Kids off Nauru.”

A day before the rally, 6000 doctors signed a letter demanding the children be removed from Nauru because of serious mental and physical health concerns.

The Uniting Church Assembly also signed on to a letter to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten from 62 faith-based organisations requesting urgent action to bring the children and their families off Nauru.

As different political parties are responding to the campaign, organisers of #KidsOffNauru have encouraged supporters to call their local Member of Parliament via the www.kidsoffnauru.com/call website. 

This is the text of the full letter from Dr Deidre Palmer read out in Canberra.

On behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia, I am grateful for the opportunity to add my voice to those of you gathered in Canberra, and across the country to advocate for the children held in detention on Nauru.
The Uniting Church holds the firm belief that no child should be kept in detention. 
These children have sought the protection of Australia from situations of war and persecution. 
They should be treated with care and respect, regardless of how they fled or where they came from. They should be kept free from harm and given opportunities to flourish. 
Children living in detention on Nauru clearly do not have these opportunities.
Our principled protest against their continued detention is not only rooted in the Gospel values we are called on as Christians to uphold - it is a fundamental and universal principle of human decency.
Now is the time for true leaders in our Parliament to step up, act with compassion and decency and finally bring these children and their families to Australia with a view of finding them a permanent home.

For the love of God, now is the time. 
Let’s get the Kids off Nauru.

Grace and peace,

Deidre Palmer
President
Uniting Church in Australia