Sydney Catholic School principals take a stand against children in detention

Primary and Secondary principals in the Archdiocese of Sydney have taken a strong stand against the keeping of children in mandatory immigration detention by signing a statement on behalf of their respective associations calling for their immediate release.

The 150 principals signed the statement at a meeting on Monday 14 March at Waverview Convention Centre Homebush. They also posed for a photo behind the banner #freethechildren.

“As school and community leaders, we strive every day to provide a safe, nurturing and welcoming environment for hundreds of young people,” the statement reads. “We feel a deep moral responsibility to speak with one voice in the hope of being an instrument of change.”

The statement calls for political leaders to “immediately free children from immigration detention… as it has become very clear that this policy is doing serious harm to these children and their families.”

The two principals associations have added their voice to other professional bodies such as the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Medical Association and academics and staff from the University of Sydney in calling for the immediate release of children being held in mandatory immigration detention.

“Today, through this statement, we offer our name, our voice and our hearts to these children in the hope of giving them, as well as our nation, a pathway to a better future.”

Sydney Catholic Schools have been advocating strongly on this issue for some time through the Jump Up&Down 4 Kids campaign (http://on.fb.me/1jPTfP6). Late last year, it commissioned a song and video called ‘Jump’. The video is available for viewing on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqj69vnhzkE.

Sydney Catholic school principals call for the immediate release of all children in immigration detention in Australia and on Nauru

A statement on behalf of the Archdiocesan Catholic Primary Principals Association and the Archdiocesan Catholic Secondary Principals Association

As the Association of Sydney Catholic School Principals (Primary and Secondary) in the Archdiocese of Sydney, we have, for some time, been deeply unhappy about the policy of keeping children in mandatory immigration detention in Australia and off-shore in Nauru.

It has become very clear that this policy is doing serious harm to these children and their families. As school and community leaders, we strive every day to provide a safe, nurturing and welcoming environment for hundreds of young people; consequently, we feel a deep moral responsibility to speak with one voice in the hope of being an instrument of change. We call for our political leaders to immediately free children from immigration detention.

A detention centre is no place for a child.

We join with other professional organisations including the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Medical Association and academics and staff from the University of Sydney in calling for an immediate end to a policy that puts children already traumatised by their experiences of war, poverty or disadvantage at risk of further harm.

The current policy of detaining people seeking asylum, which includes the detention of children, is entirely inconsistent with a country that prides itself on values of decency, compassion and a ‘fair go for all’.

We ask that our government honours the commitment Australia has made to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and immediately release these children into the community. We also call for the government to develop and pass legislation to ensure that the mandatory, prolonged detention of children does not occur again.

Caring for and nurturing every child, regardless of his or her personal circumstances, sit at the heart of our work as leaders in Catholic education. It is for this reason that we will continue to advocate on behalf of children in immigration detention through the Jump Up&Down 4 Kids campaign (http://on.fb.me/1jPTfP6).

Today, through this statement, we offer our name, our voice and our hearts to these children in the hope of giving them, as well as our nation, a pathway to a better future.

(NB: There are 157 signatures on this statement)

4 thoughts on “Sydney Catholic School principals take a stand against children in detention

  1. Luke Weyland says:

    Congratulations to the all Principals who have signed this declaration. The Catholic church, together with the Anglican, Uniting, Baptist, and many of the other churches as well as the Jewish and Muslim Communities have taken a stand for humanity opposing the Lib/Lab policies that harm asylum seekers.

  2. Jane Woolford says:

    Thank you to all the Sydney Catholic school Principals for taking a stand on this issue. Very inportant for our kids to see this expression of solidariry by their leaders.

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