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Church leaders seek urgent meeting with PM on Manus

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"In the spirit of Christmas, Christian leaders are today seeking an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss New Zealand’s response to the refugees on Manus Island," said Reverend Emily Worman, leader of Church in Progress MCC.

"Clergy across the country have endorsed a call for all of the refugee and asylum seekers trapped on Manus Island to be brought to New Zealand. On behalf of the more than 50 signatories from congregations up and down the country, I have requested a meeting with the Prime Minister today to urge her to show true compassion this Christmas. We want urgent action to rescue these men who are suffering torture and violence on Manus."

"The religious traditions associated with the text of the bible place great emphasis on the exercise of compassion and charity towards the poor, the sick, the oppressed and the foreigner living among us. While we now live in a secular society, these values are still important to our sense of morality, and at Christmas it is worthwhile to reflect on how well we live them out."

One of the signatories, Reverend Andy Hickman from the Anglican Diocese of Wellington in Tawa said, "This tragedy requires a humanitarian response. We want to say loudly and clearly that faith-based groups in New Zealand are prepared to help in practical ways and will work closely with expert agencies to ensure a complete level of support and care is provided to these people and their families."

"We are encouraged that many churches are uniting on this issue,"

"We thank PM Jacinda Ardern for the government’s offer to take 150 asylum seekers. We think that offer needs to be extended to all the people detained on Manus, and now we appeal to her to negotiate directly with the government of Papua New Guinea to facilitate their immediate transfer to New Zealand,"

"The Prime Minister cannot undo what has been done to the people on Manus. But she can give them a place to live in peace and safety. The first Christmas story is about a family in crisis looking for refuge. After being turned away multiple times, finally, someone let this family in and gave them shelter. Decisions, that involved sharing our resources, are never easy. Fear is the force behind the billions of tax dollars designated for military purposes. Hope and love will enable us to open our hearts and homes to these men who desperately need our help." said Rev Emily Worman.

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