As we move from Refugee Week to NAIDOC week, it’s fitting that we listen to Academics Mark Brett and Naomi Wolfe as they explore the roles of guest and host in the Australian context. This piece is an edited excerpt from a NAIITS Conference paper. The full paper will be published in the NAIITS Journal later in the year.
These last few weeks we’ve been rocked by revelations of abuse within Australian run detention centres. First, we were horrified at the grave mistreatment of #DonDaleKids in the Northern Territory juvenile detention system, and now the #NauruFiles—published by the Guardian and documenting 2,116 ‘incidents’ experienced by the people detained in immigration detention on Nauru—have revealed yet another heartbreaking account of our country’s systemic failure to recognise the inherent value of each human being.
As Christians we know that all humans are made in the image of God, and that in the face of such injustice, our faith calls us to respond.
And that is exactly what’s happened. This week, Christians from around Australia joined together in vigils organised by our friends at Love Makes a Way. Together, we covered local MP’s offices with countless paper dolls symbolising each of the individuals who have sought safe asylum in our country and have instead been detained in our immigration centres.
Now, we’re asking Australian churches to join with us this Sunday. As you meet in your communities across Australia, we invite you to publicly pray with your church community that our country and our leaders will be convicted about the value of every human life, in light of these recent revelations. We’ve put together some reference prayers, but invite you to bring your own words and reflection as appropriate within your church communities.
We would also love you to consider being a part of the ongoing action that is taking place in response to the #NauruFiles. We continue to post paper dolls at our local MP offices, and invite you to join us. You can download the paper doll template and find instructions on how to get involved on the Love Makes a Way website.
As we pray this weekend, individually and within our church communities, we ask that God sends us to call on our nation’s leaders in such a way that real change follows.