Chasing Asylum

Chasing Asylum

Chasing Asylum unveils the harrowing reality of asylum seekers under our country’s immigration policies.

Seeing tears stream down the face of the mother of a dead asylum seeker, hearing her sob and struggle to compose herself, is certainly harrowing.

Angry and frustrated with Australia’s asylum seeker and refugee policies, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Eva Orner returned home after a decade living in the US to make this documentary.

People who worked in offshore detention tell Orner in their own words what it is really like to be held there. There is a palpable sadness underlying the words they speak – sadness and outrage.

This documentary visually depicts the reality of Australia’s indefinite detention of refugees (committing 150 violations of international law in the process). The brutality of the treatment and the visible desperation of all involved would move the most hardened skeptic. Hopefully, Chasing Asylum inspires more people to action.

Alarming statistics are used regularly to put our refugee issues into a global perspective. For example, Australia is ranked a remote 67th when looking at refugee intake as a proportion of our population.

At a preview of Chasing Asylum, I asked Orner how refugee advocates could persuade people unsympathetic to refugees to see her documentary.

“Encourage them to come see where $1.2 billion goes per year ($500,000 per asylum seeker),” she said with a smile.

Orner also welcomed the Uniting Church’s position on offering sanctuary.

“It’s good what the Uniting Church is doing,” Orner said, while calling on all Australians to get informed about the situation and take appropriate action where they can.

If you’ve ever wondered why our Church is so outspoken on asylum seekers, you really should see Chasing Asylum.

For more information

The Uniting Church’s official position on asylum seeker and refugee policy is outlined in Shelter from the Storm. Extracts from the policy are included in the 2016 Federal Election resource A Flourishing Society: Your Faith, Your Voice, Your Vote

The Refugee Council of Australia is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them, while the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is Australia’s largest asylum seeker advocacy, aid and health organisation.

Semisi Kailahi, Uniting Church Assembly


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