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CAN of WORMS Refugees & Boat People 'A Christian Response'

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1 CAN of WORMS Refugees & Boat People 'A Christian Response'

2 Definition… A refugee is a person who flees their country or habitual place of residence because of a well founded fear of persecution on the basis of their race, religion, or membership in a social or political group are recognized as refugees.

3 An asylum seeker is someone who is seeking international protection but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined.

4 However, ‘illegal immigrants’ (generally) are people who enter a country without meeting the legal requirements for entry (without a valid visa, for example).

5 It’s important to understand that, compared to the rest of the world, Australia’s boat people “problem” is relatively small. In the USA, for example, it is estimated that more than 500,000 illegal aliens arrive each year. Similarly, parts of Europe struggle to monitor and control the large annual influx from Africa and the Middle East.

6 In comparison in 2010, 134 boats arrived unauthorised in Australia with a total of 6,879 people on board (including crew). Though considerably more than the seven boat arrivals in 2008 with 179 people on board, in comparison with Europe and the USA this is still a small number. In the year 2000, when approximately 3,000 boat people arrived in Australia, Iran and Pakistan each accepted over one million Afghan refugees. In fact, the burden of assisting the world’s asylum seekers mostly falls to some of the poorest countries. Since 1992 forced displacement has not abated. Over 21 million people now rely on the protection of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

7 In 2009, for example, Pakistan was host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.75 million), followed by Iran (1.07 million) and Syria (1.05 million). These figures should help us gain a healthy perspective of the small nature of Australia’s asylum seeker “problem”. The UNHCR report highlights that most of the world’s refugees are being protected in countries much poorer than Australia. Of the 10.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate, the largest numbers were being hosted by Pakistan (1,740,711), Iran (1,070,488), Syria (1,054,466), Germany (593,799), Jordan (450,756), Kenya (358,928), Chad (338,495) and China (300,989). By contrast, Australia was ranked 47th, hosting 22,548 refugees (0.2% of the global total). Australia was 68th on a per capita basis and 91st relative to national wealth.

8 The majority of asylum seekers actually arrive in Australia by air with a valid visa and then apply for protection sometime after their arrival. In 2010 illegal boat arrivals made up 47% of asylum seekers – an increase of 16% on the previous year, but still less than half. In spite of this, political and media attention only focuses on those arriving by boat. “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native- born (Australians), and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of (England/Ireland/Italy/…)” Leviticus 19:33-34

9 Who was the greatest Refugee? John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Philippians 2:6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage…


11 “Help us,” they cry. “Defend us against our enemies. Protect us from their relentless attack. Do not betray us now that we have escaped. Let our refugees stay among you. Hide them from our enemies until the terror is past.” - Isaiah 16:3-4


13 Christian Responses to Consider Matthew 7:12 (NIV) So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 10:16 (NIV) “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.


15 Prayer and reflection Dear Heavenly Father, We remember your Son who became a refugee and had no place to call his own and we come to you in His name today. Please look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger, homeless and hungry. Bless those who work to bring them relief; inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts; and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace. Help us now as we remember the gift of your son and the sacrifices He made for us. And, change our hearts, soften our hearts where needed, I ask in and through Jesus' name. Amen.

16 Communion…


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