Mercies Raise their Voices for Those Without a Voice
Parramatta Mercies and Sisters of Mercy from across Australia and Papua New Guinea braved heavy rain in Sydney on Palm Sunday, to join about 6,000 people who gathered in the Sydney CBD to protest against the Policy of Mandatory Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
The Annual Palm Sunday Peace Rally, which is held in multiple cities around Australia, took the theme of “Declaring Peace on Refugees”, and drew support from a great variety of organisations and individuals. Many Women’s and Men’s Religious Orders were represented, along with representatives of other Christian and non-Christian Faith Traditions, Trade Unions, and Refugee Advocacy Groups, to name a few.
The Rally was addressed by a number of speakers. Mr Phil Glendenning of the Refugee Council of Australia and the Edmund Rice Centre, called on all present to provide the leadership on this issue, that our political leaders lack. He highlighted the many areas in which Australia’s current policies are at odds with our obligations under the United Nations Convention on Refugees, including the current detention of over 1,000 children.
Sr Susan Connelly, of the Sisters of St Joseph, also addressed the rally with passion and wisdom. She called for an end to the scapegoating of refugees and asylum seekers, and for all sides of politics to work together to stop the punishment of innocent victims seeking safety and security in Australia.
Following the address by speakers, the Sisters joined the thousands of others in attendance as they marched through the main streets of Sydney, raising their voices as they called “Say it loud, Say it Clear, Refugees are Welcome Here!”
Despite being drenched by the driving rain, the Sisters were determined to see the March through to the finish. The Sisters stand in solidarity with, and support of, those who have committed no crime but are detained in dehumanising conditions, having fled their homelands in search of safety and protection in Australia.