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Location : Education : Refugees : Quotes
  

Quotable Quotes

Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 14

The goal of current asylum policy appears to be that no unvisa-ed person will land in Australia ... The government argues that the correctness of such a goal justifies [its] measures. The argument that the end justifies the means is the antithesis of morality.
Mark Raper SJ

Every possible effort should be made to ensure that [migration] may bring benefit to the immigrant's personal, family and social life, both for the country to which he goes and the country from which she leaves. In this area much depends on just legislation, in particular with regard to the rights of workers ... the most important thing is that the person working away from his native land, whether as a permanent immigrant or as a seasonal worker, should not be placed at a disadvantage in comparison with other workers in that society in the matter of working rights. Immigration in search of work must in no way become an opportunity for financial or social exploitation.
John Paul II, Laborem Exercens #23

Australia is prepared to give some place to morality in its public policy abroad, using the vocabulary of human rights, but it resists the application of other human rights principles to its own laws and practices.
Hilary Charlesworth

The worst position for the church would be to continue sitting on the fence. Such a lack of courageous leadership would further erode the church's authority on all the great moral issues of today.
Neville Roach

I have learned over many years that one way [people] avoid public responsibility is to remain silent.
John Menadue

Hope is not optimism. Optimism expects that things will get better. Hope is a virtue grounded in suffering. It is a grace that gives strength. Hope is a promise that takes root in the heart and is a guide to an unknown future. "Those who sow in tears will sing when they reap" (Psalm 125). The challenge for the pastoral worker is to search for and find the seeds of hope, to allow them to grow, to fan the feeble spark into a flame. Hope is what enables us to live fully in the present moment. our role is to help change a refugee camp from something to survive in to a time and place for growth.
Mark Raper SJ

I think that the world will not be converted to the heavenly hope of Christianity if first Christianity does not convert itself to the hope of the world.
Teilhard de Chardin SJ

When is the moral life of a country, town, a community, a political system, is on the skids, the slide shows up in the language.
Morag Fraser

The joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are afflicted in any way, these are the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the followers of Christ.
Gaudium et Spes #1

Ignorance and prejudice are the handmaidens of propaganda. Our mission, therefore, is to confront ignorance with knowledge, bigotry with tolerance, and isolation with the outstretched hand of generosity. Racism can, will and must be defeated.
UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan

Much of the problem comes from one simple fact: we don't believe refugees…In other words, 'the culture of disbelief' can make us deaf to the genuine cries for protection. We must allow their cries of pain to be heard.
Lena Barrett, JRS Europe

For those who've come across the seas we've boundless plains to share
Australian National Anthem

Action is my domain. It is not what I say but what I do that matters.
Mohandas Gandhi

When we consider our response to refugees and asylum seekers, what is at stake is the right to live in community. The first point of reference for action is the human person rather than the interests of states of national security. The person comes before the state. This is grounded in a vision of human dignity: The human person created in the image of God.
Australian Social Justice Council

All human beings are limbs of the same body. God created them from the same essence. If one part of the body suffers pain, then the whole body is affected. If you are indifferent to this pain, you cannot be called a human being.
Saadi

We must choose carefully how we treat the stranger among us, because our choice has serious implications for the stranger, but also for ourselves.
Savitri Taylor

Hospitality conjures up the context of guests, visitors, putting on meals, providing lodging, making the stranger feel 'at home' in our home - enlarging our home to make that wider 'at homeness' possible.
Brendan Byrne SJ

Surely the only way to learn about the hope of a refugee is to listen to her. Our biggest temptation on seeing the distress of the refugees in Karagwe or Fungnido Camp, or in a city like Johannesburg or Nairobai, is to begin projects, to give material things, to decide en masse what the refugees need. They often arrive in exile without shoes, with only one torn shirt, hungry, without a clear plan. But they did not undergo this experience in order to get a shirt or shoes. Their human experience calls for respect. They are traumatised by violence, lonely, rejected, exhausted in body certainly, but also exhausted by losing their place in a stable society, and sometimes feeling guilty about what they did in order to survive. They want to be understood, to be heard. Their frequent question is, 'Why is God doing this to me?' They have a right to ask this question. But it cannot be asked unless someone listens. This is our primary role, to listen to the questions, to the longing and fundamental need of the refugees.
Mark Raper SJ

The presence of massive global suffering and the mass migrations of peoples have brought to centre stage the reality of the others and the different. If then, in this context we bring this to the God at the centre of our believing what happens? The God revealed at the heart of our Christian tradition there is above all 'other' and 'different.' In the Hebrew Scriptures, God is revealed as totally Other and refuses to be categorised and imaged: 'I AM WHO I AM,' God tells Moses. The Holy One so named is a vibrant, dynamic, living presence. This is not a divine otherness of distance and disinterest, but an otherness that is in powerful, personal relationship and solidarity with the oppressed and is intent on their liberation:

I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings and I have come down to deliver them.. Exodus 3:7-8

This is a God at once totally other and very near. Such a God will not be domesticated by our needs but will come to meet us in the place of oppression and invite us into relationship and into the work of liberation.

When we seek to find a new justice for our time when there is such fear of the other, there is a powerful, transforming invitation for us. There is an invitation to 'Welcome the stranger,' to welcome those who are 'other.' In making room for their stories to come to be, we grow in the capacity to welcome and rejoice in difference. Another part of this same invitation is to grow in a capacity to welcome God as 'Other.'
Patricia Fox RSM

Francois Ponchaud tells us that the Khmer Rouge lived out their corrupted or 'popular' animist conviction that fate rules human lives, and that conversion or change of heart is impossible. They destroyed people in order to bring about social change, believing that people could not change or be changed. The genocide in Rwanda shows us that this mistake is not confined to a single instance, nor to poor formation in one religious tradition. if we do not permit conversion, or allow for forgiveness, reconciliation is avoided and suffering prolonged. By contrast, the Gospel highlights a victim who is innocent but wrongly accused - and who has overcome violence. We are invited to identify that Victim, and to invite others to do so. Is it too much to ask, given the fear-driven mandate of the recent election, how about we limit our indecency to our treatment of adults, ensuring that never again are kids put in the line of batons and tear gas in the name of boarder protection, as they were in Woomera last Easter?
Frank Brennan SJ

God spoke to Moses and said, "I made my covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as strangers. And I have heard the groaning of my people whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the Israelites, "I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm ... I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God."
Exodus 6:5-6

We are not unlike the lawyer whose dialogue with Jesus frames the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

When we ask only for simple legal solutions, we effectively exclude the strangers in our midst from the communion table of fellowship in God's household. We treat them as impediments to our own progress instead of seeing them as opportunities for redeeming and reconciling discipleship. Even worse, we stereotype them. We use harmful labels--such as illegal aliens--to effectively preclude our ever having to consider them as members of our neighbourhoods and congregations.

The parable of the Good Samaritan challenges us to understand that violence towards those who are the least powerful among us can take the form of legislative acts or of human indifference and disconnection. Jesus asks that we who would be good disciples be good neighbours, be willing to think and act beyond what has ordinarily been expected. This is the message of the incarnation itself and the meaning behind the message when Jesus tells the lawyer to "go and do likewise."
Lilia Fernandez

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