Last week you may have read of the award presented in Geneva to a 25 year old Sudanese asylum seeker, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who has been detained on Manus island since the age of 20. Abdul was allowed to fly to Switzerland to receive the 2019 Martin Ennals Award Laureate, which annually honours individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, often working under threat of imprisonment, torture or worse. Whilst there has been recent debate in the Federal Parliament and amendments to legislation, which will provide an evacuation process to Australian health facilities for asylum seekers with serious medical conditions who are currently on Nauru and Manus islands, the overall management of those detention facilities by the Australian Government continues to attract international criticism. Here at home, our Catholic Bishops have represented the thoughts of many Australians, urging our elected representatives to find new ways of assisting people seeking refuge in Australia.
Last week, in Panama, whilst addressing young Catholics from around the globe gathered for World Youth Day, the Holy Father challenged those assembled to consider carefully the very purpose of their lives as young Christian women and men.