22 April 2024

Worldwide refugee crisis looms over Walk for Justice

The 2023 Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees will begin at the State Library of Victoria on Sunday 2 April. Image: File.

Kirralee Nicolle

18 March 2023

This year’s Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees is a time to be grateful for policy changes recently introduced by the Labor government, a refugee advocate says.

Former Melbourne assistant bishop Philip Huggins said the walk began more than 20 years ago to call for a greater government focus on international nuclear disarmament, now relevant again with the war in Ukraine.

“The predominant issue was the concern about nuclear disarmament but the context was recognizing that all wars create refugees,” he said.

Read more: Visa uncertainty ends for thousands of refugees, but many still stuck in limbo

Bishop Huggins said both peace building and caring for refugees continued to be a good Palm Sunday focus.

“We understand peace to be both God’s gift and our task to be peacebuilders,” he said. “Palm Sunday leads to Easter, and the risen Jesus’ first gift after resurrection was peace – my peace I give you, he said to anxious people.”

Bishop Huggins said that while last year the focus of the walk was on urging changes to refugee policy, this year the focus was on gratefulness for the federal government’s commitment to helping those who have long held temporary protection visas to reach permanent residency. He said the walk was also to be about urging an increase in refugee intake numbers, given instability across the globe.

Read more: Call for government to fulfil moral responsibility to refugees

“We walk with faith, but knowing there’s work to be done,” Bishop Huggins said.

UNHCR statistics from May 2022 showed that 100 million people were forced to leave their homes in 2022, a figure the UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi described as a “wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes”.

Dean of Melbourne the Very Reverend Dr Andreas Loewe said the walk was a chance for those from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities to walk alongside unions and political parties to advocate for a united cause.

Read more: Churches uniquely suited to help support refugees and asylum seekers

Dr Loewe said the purpose of the walk was also about continuing to advocate for the end of any offshore detention.

“It’s costly, it doesn’t work, it really is a blight on Australia’s public perception overseas and it encourages other nations like the UK to consider similar models,” he said.

Information on the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees can be found online at: bit.ly/3Lr3Oc0.

For more faith news, follow The Melbourne Anglican on FacebookTwitter, or subscribe to our weekly emails.

Share this story to your social media

Find us on Social Media

Recent News

This diocese is offering hope in an often hopeless region

It can be one or two hours’ drive to get to church in central Queensland. Many localities only have a dozen or so residents. Hopelessness and suicide are big problems in the often brutal industries of mining and farming. 

do you have A story?

Leave a Reply

Subscribe now to receive our newsletter and stay up to date with The Melbourne Anglican

All rights reserved TMA 2021

Stay up to date with
The Melbourne Anglican through our weekly newsletters.