Seventh-day Adventists were among a group of Australian Christians calling for the release of children held in immigration detention on Nauru.
The statement was made by participants at the Justice Conference at the Melbourne Town Hall on October 27.
“As Christians, we cannot in good faith be complicit in, or bystanders to acts of injustice,” said the statement. “When we see any of God’s children prevented from living life in all its fullness, we must speak out.
“That is why we are adding our voice to get kids off Nauru. The world refugee crisis is a complex problem—but locking up children is never the answer.”
The statement called on Australia’s political leaders to work together to find a solution that moves children and their families off Nauru. The 1500 conference participants included some 25 Adventist Church members and representatives of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Australia.
“This issue matters because it strikes at the heart of who we are as a nation,” said ADRA Australia CEO Paul Rubessa. “ADRA believes that all people were created in the image of God to do amazing things. Detaining people indefinitely on Nauru is inconsistent with that belief. We implore our politicians to urgently get all people—especially children—out of detention.”
Hosted by Tear Australia, the Justice Conference is an annual event focused on the Christian call to do justice, and is sponsored by a number of Christian justice and development agencies.
“I attend the Justice Conference because the event serves as a sharp reminder of the fact that as beneficiaries of Jesus’ advocacy, we are called to participate in the work of doing justice in our communities,” said Lesleigh Bower, general secretary of the Western Australian Conference.
“As an Adventist Christian, I was proud to stand with other Christians at the Justice Conference to convey to Australia’s leaders our desire to get kids off Nauru. We pray our message will be heard.”
Read the full statement.