Sister Dorothy Bayliss shares stories from her time on Christmas Island where she worked with Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Video contains images that some viewers may find disturbing.

Detention Issues

The significant change in Government policy towards people seeking asylum has led to a shift in the focus of our pastoral care mission.

The increasing number of people seeking asylum released into the community on bridging visas, has led to a growing demand for support services outside detention centres.

However, a significant number of people still remain in Australia’s detention centres and we still maintain a strong presence in Australian Immigration Detention Centres (IDCS).

Our staff and volunteers continue to visit the IDCs both on the Australian mainland and on Christmas Island.

They assist by attempting to address the refugees’ basic, practical needs which include taking them on excursions when permitted, conducting religious services, checking their psycho-social needs are addressed and, most importantly, be available should asylum seekers simply need to talk.

The core of our work exemplifies the JRS ethos of accompaniment by reassuring the people seeking asylum that they have not been forgotten, despite being held behind electric fences, and often in remote parts of Australia.

We partner in these endeavours with the Sisters of Mercy and the Sisters of Charity who play a central role in implementing the organisation’s ministry of accompaniment. Through this program, we have provided thousands of asylum seekers with pastoral and psycho-social care.

Community Detention

JRS Australia has continued to advocate for the rights of people seeking asylum. We played a key role in the government’s decision in October 2010 to release unaccompanied minors into the community as an alternative to detention.

We lobbied for, and agreed to pilot (alongside several other key agencies) a Residential Determination Program for minors awaiting the outcome of their asylum applications. That led to the opening Australia’s first community detention house in December 2010.

Following the success of this program and its subsequent expansion, we enlarged our accommodation and casework program to include vulnerable adult men and families under a Residential Determination Project.

You can read more about how Australian advocates lobbied successfully for the implementation of community detention as a viable, humane alternative to closed detention: Community detention in Australia: a more humane way forward.

Policy Change

JRS has been active in supporting initiatives for lasting policy change by both national refugee agencies and the International Detention Coalition (IDC).

The IDC, established in 2006 by JRS International and other concerned organisations, works to raise public awareness of migration detention policies and practices, as well as promote greater protection and respect for the human rights of detainees.

JRS Australia and other coalition members advocate for a more limited use of immigration detention, an increase in alternatives to detention and a more humane approach to asylum seekers in general.

JRS is also a member of The Australian Coalition to End Immigration Detention of Children (ACEIDC) also known as End Child Detention Australia. The Coalition was formed in 2012 to advocate for the release of children being held in immigration detention facilities. It currently consists of 8 partners from secular, faith-based and non-government organisations who together represent over 500 organisations, in effect a civil society movement against the detention of children.

Allies keeping faith despite Medevac blow

Carolina Gottardo and Nishadh Rego are Director and Policy and Advocacy Coordinator respectively for Jesuit Refugee Service Australia. This article originally featured in Eureka Street, 12 December 2019. [caption id="attachment_5934"

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Press Release: PNG visit affirms need for safe, secure pathways for refugees and people seeking asylum: CAPSA

PRESS RELEASE: Seven representatives from the Catholic community in Australia have returned from a visit to Papua New Guinea to listen, pray and express solidarity with people seeking asylum and refugees and gain a better understanding of the

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The Dire Situation in Port Moresby, What We Can Do Together.

Dear Friends, My name is Carolina Gottardo and I am the Co-Convenor for the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) and the Director of JRS Australia. Last week, I was part of a Catholic delegation of Catholic leaders that flew to

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Link: Spring 2019 - Special Advocacy Edition

The Spring edition of Link is out now! Link is JRS Australia's quarterly publication. In this special advocacy edition, read all about our post election work in advocating for policies of welcome at a local, regional, national and international

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The Compacts

This article appears in our upcoming special advocacy edition of Link. 2019. This year has been busy with regional and international advocacy work. In April 2019, JRS Australia joined the Jesuit Asia Pacific Conference (JCAP) Migration Network

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Two Welcome Visits

In the lead up to this month’s World Migrant and Refugee Sunday, 25th August, JRS Australia had two enlightening visits from priests, each from different sides of the world. Both Fr Endashaw and Fr Licini are highly regarded for their work with

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The Staging Post - More than a film night!

Right after the 2019 federal election, at the end of May, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia was delighted to co-host the screening of The Staging Post jointly with Jesuit Mission (JM) at the Ron Dyer Centre in North Sydney. Perhaps because of

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Media Release: Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia welcomes new Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) report on people seeking asylum in the Australian community.

JRS Australia welcomes the release of a landmark Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) report on lives of people in the so-called ‘Legacy Caseload.’ The report, entitled Lives on hold: Refugees and asylum seekers in the ‘Legacy Caseload’

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Real Life Stories - Soraya.

Stories from our Caseworkers: JRS Australia is honoured to have a direct relationship with people seeking asylum and refugees. In 2018 alone, over 3,000 people were served by us. Each of our JRS Caseworkers meets remarkable people. Here is the story

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JRS Australia releases 'Strangers No More' federal election policy statement; calls for next Australian government to adopt policies supporting welcome and protection.

Election Statement: Strangers No More: How Australia’s leaders can welcome, promote, protect and integrate forced migrants. As we step into the final week of the Federal Election 2019 campaign, JRS Australia is pleased to release its election

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