A win for love and compassion with #LetThemStay

#LetThemStay is a new campaign supported by the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT), an Act for Peace initiative, which aims to create a new, more compassionate attitude to refugees and people seeking safety in Australia.

It started in February when priest, doctors, nurses and whole schools of children took to the streets to protest the return of 267 people, including 37 babies, to offshore detention camps. Baby “Asha” was one of these babies, and like the other people seeking asylum, she was here in Australia due to the limited medical treatment available in Nauru. Still she was under the threat of being returned to the Nauru immigration processing centre with her family.

Almost overnight, she became the face of the harsh reality experienced by many asylum seekers in Australia.

In just 22 days, an incredible outpouring of passionate support from churches, concerned Australians and even politicians resulted in the Government allowing most of these families being allowed to stay in community detention in Australia. The campaign was a fantastic success and a tribute to just what can be achieved when people come together to fight for compassion and decency instead of hate and intolerance. The wave of support the campaign experienced proves that there is a significant shift in public opinion around the government’s brutal and often illegal refugee policies.

People fleeing war and terror are human beings with hopes, fears and dreams just like ours. Through rallies, vigils, social media posts, special church services and news stories, #LetThemStay showed that thousands of Australians believe they deserve a fair hearing and decent treatment, not brutality and cruelty. Additionally, more than 100 churches and cathedrals across Australia took the extraordinary step of declaring themselves places of Sanctuary for these 267 people seeking asylum, to prevent them from being deported offshore.

“Historically churches have afforded sanctuary to those seeking refuge from brutal and oppressive forces. We offer this refuge because there is irrefutable evidence from health and legal experts that the circumstances asylum seekers, especially children, would face if sent back to Nauru are tantamount to state-sanctioned abuse,” said the Very Rev’d Dr Catt, the Anglican Dean of Brisbane. “We feel so desperate that we need to do something desperate. This fundamentally goes against our faith, so our church community is compelled to act.”

Throughout the #LetThemStay campaign the Christian community demonstrated strength, unity and courage. Together, we forced the government to hear our voices and made love, not hatred the winner.

Key fact:
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, in 2014 it was reported that 85% of parents and children indicated their mental health was negatively affected while in detention.

The difference your Christmas Bowl gifts are making:
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce has been established to promote a shared Christian vision of compassion and hospitality for asylum seekers and refugees. Your gifts to the Christmas Bowl are helping to create a climate of compassion for refugees in Australia.


More information

Give to the Christmas Bowl

Give a vulnerable family two baby goats that can supplement their income by providing milk and cheese.

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Take Part as a School

Register your school to take part in the 2016 Christmas Bowl appeal and get ready to make an even bigger difference to people in need!

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Worship Resources

Include sermon starters and stories from people who your are helping, to prepare for the Christmas Bowl appeal in your community or church.

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Ways you can help


Baby Essentials

$100 can help provide a baby “essentials” package including nappies, cotton pads and lotions for the #LetThemStay mums and babies who are in community detention in Australia.

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Community Disaster Kits

$4000 can help provide 5 Community Disaster Kits in Vanuatu (containing candles, solar lights, torches, matches, radios, first aid kits,mosquito protection, soap for an entire village) so communities hit by a disaster have the means to respond.

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Emergency food rations

$550 can help provide emergency food rations for two Syrian refugees for an entire year, ensuring they have enough to eat.

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