Australia: Refugee asylum policy beware

On the 11th anniversary of the death of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, on a rainy February night in Sydney, sixty enthusiastic friends turned out to celebrate the re-birth of Uniya. Named after the first Jesuit mission in Australia, Uniya has re-opened, after a patient process of broad consultation, adding ?Jesuit Social Justice Centre? to its name. The main effort during the first year will be to work for a fair, moral and effective asylum policy for Australia, instead of the Government?s harsh practice of mandatory and prolonged detention for asylum seekers, which appears to offend against widely accepted legal and human rights standards. At Uniya?s first opening in 1989, Fr. General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach urged it to ?help Christians in Australia take up roles in the government of society in ways which will enhance both their sense of Christian vocation and the well-being of the people.? Uniya is also mandated to reach out beyond Australia and to promote the work for social justice among the Jesuits of East Asia and Oceania. ?Your work is to build on the Gospel of Jesus,? said Father General. ?As we bless this new venture together in His name, I ask that you never cease praying, together and on the road, for the strength of Jesus and the gifts of His Spirit.? [HL20204]