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Imminent Deportation of Coptic Christians “Breaks Election Promise”

Last edited 13th March 2018

Imminent Deportation of Coptic Christians “Breaks Election Promise”

As ten Coptic Christians who fled Islamic extremists in Egypt face imminent deportation from Australia, two Eastern Catholic bishops have urged the Australian government to keep in mind this country’s history of helping those in need.

Among the group of ten refugees who are all currently living in Melbourne is an elderly couple in their seventies and a mother with young children.

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Melkite Eparch, Bishop Robert Rabbat, President of the Eastern Churches Council, said he is “concerned” because “the plight of any person in need, whether a migrant or someone looking for refuge, touches our heart.”

“Australia has always had a policy of opening its doors for the needy and people who are seeking refuge,” Bishop Rabbat said.

The ten face deportation this month as their applications for protection visas were rejected despite the ongoing violence in Egypt against Coptic Christians.

“We’re calling upon the government not to hide behind the law,” Bishop Rabbat said.

“The law is needed to care for the average Australian citizen but at the same time not to forget we are talking about human beings who are sometimes under duress. Who cross deserts and oceans and sometimes even die, just to seek a place of refuge. So it has to be a balance of the law and the heart.”

Joining Bishop Rabbat in expressing concern was Maronite Eparch, Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay.

“I will join Bishop Rabbat especially in expressing the need to have a balance between the law and the human approach to the situation,” he told The Catholic Weekly.

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