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ACMRO News April 2024

The Keynote Speakers for the Upcoming 7th ACMRO National Conference 2024

The 7th ACMRO National Conference 2024, to be held in ACU Melbourne from 18 July to 19 July 2024, is honoured to have an outstanding line-up of keynote and discussion speakers who will explore various topics related to migrant workers, with a particular emphasis on seasonal workers in Australia. In this issue of the newsletter, we will be first introducing our keynote speakers.

On the first day, we will be having Dr. Laurie Berg, who is the Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, and Co-Executive Director, Migrant Justice Institute Sydney. She will share her insights on how seasonal workers enrich Australian society beyond their work and how faith communities and the wider society in Australia can welcome and learn from their diverse cultural backgrounds, traditions, language, and faith and foster positive change. Moreover, she will also address the challenges faced by women migrant workers who are at risk of exploitation and how the Australian community and government can together strengthen current measures to safeguard these workers, especially women, from labour exploitation, modern slavery, and human trafficking.

During the second day, the keynote speaker will be Rev. James Bhagwan, the General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches, based in Suva, Fiji. He will be discussing the Seasonal Workers Program in Australia from the perspective of Pacific people. In addition, he will be sharing his insights about the positive and negative effects on their local communities, family life, and the impact on Pacific self-determination. He will also highlight ways in which the Australian community and government can support systems to ensure the welfare and well-being of seasonal workers.

Please visit the ACMRO website to obtain more information and to register.


‘Migrant and Refugee People of this Archdiocese — You are the New Evangelists!’ – Archbishop Prowse

The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn celebrated its annual Multicultural Mass at Saint Christopher’s Cathedral, coinciding with Divine Mercy Sunday.

In his homily, Archbishop Prowse recounted the Gospel story of the apostle Thomas’ lack of faith until he felt and saw the wounds of the risen Jesus. Helping the “Thomases of Australia” experience a “Divine Mercy encounter” was the Archbishop’s invitation to the multicultural congregation.

The Archbishop also highlighted the profound commitment to the faith of migrant and refugee communities, which he personally experienced during the course of his priestly ministry, and challenged them to be “intercultural” rather than just “multicultural” and to be the new evangelists of our time.

This article is drawn from the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn’s Catholic Voice’s post on its website.


Vatican’s Declaration “Dignitas Infinita” on Human Dignity also Highlights the Travail of Migrants

On 08 April 2024, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith released “Dignitas Infinita,” in which the Dicastery’s Prefect, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernandez, described the document as offering “some points for reflection that can help us maintain an awareness of human dignity amid the complex historical moment in which we are living.”

The document says that “every human person possesses an infinite dignity, inalienably grounded in his or her very being, which prevails in and beyond every circumstance, state, or situation the person may ever encounter.” Moreover, among the four types of dignity (ontological, moral, social, and existential), the ontological is the most vital as this is the dignity which belongs to the person “simply because he or she exists and is willed, created, and loved by God … (it) is indelible and remains valid beyond any circumstances in which the person may find themselves.”

The document also identified “grave violations” of human dignity, which include the mistreatment of migrants and human trafficking. On “The Travail of Migrants,” the document states: “Migrants are among the first victims of multiple forms of poverty. Not only is their dignity denied in their home countries, but also their lives are put at risk because they no longer have the means to start a family, to work, or to feed themselves. Once they have arrived in countries that should be able to accept them, ‘migrants are not seen as entitled like others to participate in the life of society, and it is forgotten that they possess the same intrinsic dignity as any person. […] No one will ever openly deny that they are human beings; yet in practice, by our decisions and the way we treat them, we can show that we consider them less worthy, less important, less human.’ Therefore, it is urgent to remember that ‘every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance.’ Receiving migrants is an important and meaningful way of defending ‘the inalienable dignity of each human person regardless of origin, race or religion.’”

The Australian bishops commends this document for study and reflection.

Listen to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference MediaBlog Podcast on Dignitas Infinita here.


Sister Annette is Talitha Kum’s New Regional Coordinator for the Oceania Region

Talitha Kum, the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Human Trafficking, has named Sister Annette Arnold RSJ as its new regional coordinator for Oceania.

“Formally established in 2009 with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) as an international initiative against human trafficking and exploitation, Talitha Kum promotes collaboration among networks organised at national, regional and continental level, actively supporting victims, survivors and people at risk. While each Talitha Kum network retains its unique identity and operates within its own country or region, the International Coordination at UISG supports capacity development and training of networks and members, and facilitates the sharing of information, resources, and experiences.”

Sister Annette in her message said that “Stepping into the role of Talitha Kum Oceania regional representative is both thrilling and humbling.” While working at the Social Action Office (SAO) in Queensland in 2002, she started her journey against forced labour and human trafficking. It was an eye-opening realisation that people were being exploited in factories in her own city, one that left her feeling deeply shaken and ignited a passion within her. Since then, she has actively kept an eye out for relevant issues and been involved with her congregation, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart, and the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans (ACRATH), of which she currently serves as vice president on the national board.

This article is drawn from Talitha Kum’s post on its website.  


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