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More support needed for refugees on Manus Island

National

In the wake of another death of a refugee on Manus Island, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has called on the Australian Government to provide better support services for those asylum seekers on the island still awaiting relocation.

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In a statement released today, ACBC delegate for Migrants and Refugees, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, said the death earlier this week could have been prevented.

“It is with sadness that we have heard of yet another death of a refugee on Manus Island. This death could have been prevented. The Australian Government has been removing support services on Manus Island since the announcement of the closure of the detention centre,” he said.

“Those in the care of the Australian Government whilst in offshore processing, who have come to Australia for safety and a better life, deserve more.

“I urge the Australian Government to provide support services for those who are on Manus Island, awaiting a resolution to their current situation. The Australian Government needs to listen to the concerns of these people and treat them with dignity.”

Bishop Long said people seeking asylum were some of the most vulnerable members of the global community and it was imperative they were treated “humanely and with dignity”.

“These people must be provided with options for settlement in safe countries free from further persecution.

“I urge the Australian Government, to be committed to its international obligations, and continue its work within the region and with non-government organisations to ensure the safety of those seeking asylum.

“Whilst it is important to prevent the loss of life at sea, it is equally important to provide adequate care for those in offshore detention. The Australian Government needs to provide adequate amenities, and provide quick resettlement options.

“I urge the Australian Government to provide adequate amenities to those on Manus Island, and to endorse programs that both protect lives at sea and in its care.”

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