02/04/2016, 09.37
AUSTRALIA
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Australian churches offer themselves as a "sanctuary for refugees" who risk deportation

The High Court rules "legitimate"  the government's decision to move hundreds of migrants on the island of Nauru, where there are some prisons that "host" asylum seekers. Christian communities in the country offer their facilities to prevent deportation. The executive: "The Christians have the right to think whatever they want, but they are not above the law." Thousands march for migrants.


 

Canberra (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Christian Churches of Australia have offered to host hundreds of migrants whom the government want to deport on the island of Nauru. The declaration of congregations comes just hours after the National Court ruling that the decision to move asylum seekers from the country to the island of Micronesia is "legitimate". The group in question is composed of more than 260 people, including 37 children.

The Anglican Primate Peter Catt said the chosen churches - a dozen, including the cathedral of Brisbane - are "reinventing the ancient concept of sanctuary.  It is true that the concept of sanctuary has not been tested under law, but my hunch is that if the authorities chose to enter the church and take people away, it would probably be a legal action". He added: "So this is really a moral stand and it wouldn't be a good look, I don't think, for someone to enter a church and to drag people away."

The vast majority of migrants trying to reach Australia by boat are arrested and taken to detention centers in Papua New Guinea or Nauru. The island of Manus is infamous for the situation that has arisen due to tensions related to migration. According to the law, they cannot be accepted in Australia even if they are considered to be true political or civilian refugees.

Thousands of Australians have sided with the Churches, and took to the streets against the deportation of migrants. The protesters carried signs that read "Malcolm Turnbull, let them stay." Turnbull is the current prime minister of the country. Meanwhile, an investigation by the National Commission for Human Rights has stressed the risk of mental disorders for those who are locked up in refugee camps, especially for children.

Misha Coleman, the task force of Australian churches for refugees, admits that " the sanctuaries but said if they were, the cases would be managed "in a very sort of confidential way". For his part, the Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton said that Christians "have a right to their opinions, but they are not above the law of Australia".

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