Australian Edmund Rice Schools Unite to Protest Asylum Policy that Detains Children

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Students from St Joseph’s College, Geelong participating in the ‘Detention for Detention’ event.

Students from thirty Edmund Rice schools around Australia recently took part in a protest against the detention of hundreds of children as part of Australia’s harsh asylum seeker policy.

The ‘detention for detention’ protest was co-ordinated by Edmund Rice Advocacy for Change  an umbrella group representing Edmund Rice Schools in Australia and supported by ERI. The form of the demonstration took different forms in different schools, but usually involved the volunteer students and staff gathering during their lunch break and having their mouths taped to symbolize the loss of voice, and hands tied to symbolize the loss of freedom of the children. Signatures were also collected for a petition.

The Australian policy of not allowing any asylum seekers who arrive by boat to enter Australia and instead banishing them to possibly indefinite detention at remote locations such as Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea has been widely condemned,  including by the Australian Catholic Bishops.

Particular concerns have also been raised about the policy of detaining children.

The issue has become a divisive one in Australia and the action attracted media attention – not all of it supportive. (click here to listen to a radio interview with Wayne Tinsey the Director of Edmund Rice Education Australia.

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