Catholic Mission's advocacy work for children aims to raise global issues of concern for children locally, and internationally at the United Nations forum.

End Child Detention

Our current Advocacy campaign for children is aimed at ending immigration detention of children.

Catholic Mission is working in collaboration with various religious and community organisations to advocate for the protection and wellbeing of children and their families from refugee backgrounds. We have formed a coalition known as the End Child Detention Coalition who collectively possess a wealth of experience in policy and advocacy.

Our work is twofold involving both political and community engagement. Our political strategy aims to ensure that no child will be held in locked immigration detention in Australia, and we are working to strengthen legislative protection for children. As part of our community engagement strategy, we are supporting a new initiative known as the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA) which will provide support for individuals and families who have been granted asylum, as well as creating alternative pathways for those who have been accepted as refugees to enter Australia and be supported by the average person in the community. CRSA offers a way for all of us in our parishes and communities to reach out and lend a helping hand.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC)

Catholic Mission supports the work of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC).

NATSICC is the peak advisory body to the Australian Catholic Bishops on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics. NATSICC is represented by a member of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministry from each state and territory.

Catholic Mission, in partnership with NATSICC, is in the development phase of piloting an Indigenous Leadership/Catechist model with the Darwin Diocese. This program is all about training and supporting local Indigenous leaders to lead with spiritual and community support, and the aim is that this becomes an accepted part of the Catholic Church structure on an ongoing basis.

For more information about our approach to Reconciliation with First Nations peoples, see our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Catholic Mission established its RAP Working Group in July 2020 to come together and begin thinking about the best approach to developing a RAP for the organisation. The working group consists of 6 - 8 staff from across the country and across departments. The RWG meet monthly and engage NATSICC and Aboriginal Elders within our scope of influence to provide a First Nations voice in the development of the RAP.

The RWG is currently revising final drafts of the RAP and expect to launch the endorsed RAP in early 2022.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Statement

Catholic Mission has welcomed a statement from a group of UN human rights experts this week claiming that governments are not justified in placing children and families in immigration detention.

Marking International Migrants Day last Sunday, the group, which includes various human rights committee chairs and the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said despite the rhetoric and policies seeking to incriminate undocumented migrants, detention was not lawful under international human rights law.

"Every day, thousands of children – sometimes with families – are locked up in immigration detention in over one hundred countries around the world, including both developed and developing countries,” the statement read.

“Such an experience can be devastating for a child and is not a legitimate response under international human rights law."

As a lead organisation of the End Child Detention Coalition, Catholic Mission has praised the powerful statement.

“This authoritative statement by such an eminent group of experts is not only long-anticipated, it adds significant weight to an argument many, including Catholic Mission, have been making for years,” said Jenny Collins-White, Catholic Mission's education and advocacy manager.

“A major part of our advocacy program, which is intrinsically linked to the formation of Australians for mission, is centred on the message that children do not belong in immigration detention. The United Nations has unequivocally backed this claim and their clarion call has echoed around the world.”