April 17, 2014

Mercies in Australia Raise their Voices for Those Without a Voice

Editor: The heavy rain that fell in Sydney on Palm Sunday didn't deter Sisters of Mercy from Congregations across Australia and Papua New Guinea from turning out in large numbers to peacefully protest against the Federal Government's policy of Mandatory Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.

In Melbourne and in other capital cities across Australia, the sun shone on our Sisters and Partners-in-ministry who participated, along with tens of thousands of other citizens, in this demonstration of support for the most vulnerable persons in Australian society.

The presence of those who walked sent a clear message to those in mandatory detention. In the words of Hold On, a song of welcome to Australia's asylum seekers:
Hold on, you're not forgotten,
Hold on, we hear your call,
Hold on, 'til something can turn,
'Til hard hearts are melted with human compassion... (06:59)

Maria Lawton rsm writes:

The Annual Palm Sunday Peace Rally, which is held in multiple cities around Australia, took the theme of “Declaring Peace on Refugees”, and drew support from a great variety of organisations and individuals. Many Women’s and Men’s Religious Orders were represented, along with representatives of other Christian and non-Christian Faith Traditions, Trade Unions, and Refugee Advocacy Groups, to name a few.

In Sydney the Rally was addressed by a number of speakers. Mr Phil Glendenning of the Refugee Council of Australia and the Edmund Rice Centre, called on all present to provide the leadership on this issue, that our political leaders lack. He highlighted the many areas in which Australia’s current policies are at odds with our obligations under the United Nations Convention on Refugees, including the current detention of over 1,000 children.

Susan Connelly rsj  also addressed the rally with passion and wisdom. She called for an end to the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers, and for all sides of politics to work together to stop the punishment of innocent victims seeking safety and security in Australia.

Following the address by speakers, the Sisters joined the thousands of others in attendance as they walked through the main streets of Sydney, raising their voices as they called “Say it loud, Say it Clear, Refugees are Welcome Here!”

Messages to: Maria Lawton rsm

Gallery: Scenes from the Walks in Sydney and Melbourne

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