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Church calls for more from government on human rights and employment relations


On Monday night, during one of the last business sessions of its triennial meeting, the Uniting Church’s national Assembly agreed to adopt a historic statement on human rights: Dignity in Humanity: Recognising Christ in Every Person.

Speaking after the decision, the Rev. Gregor Henderson thanked the Assembly for passing the proposal from UnitingJustice Australia, saying the document was an “important piece of work” which would be a useful tool in the church’s ongoing work for social justice.

The Rev. Elenie Poulos, who moved the proposal, said the document was necessary because of the current Government’s lack of commitment to human rights. She said it was time for the church to make a clear statement “and send a strong call to the Government that we expect more from them”.

“Jesus taught us that justice and peace will come as we claim the dignity granted by God to every person for every person.”

Ms Kaye Tait, who seconded the motion, related the story of Pedram, a seven-year-old boy who has spent four years of his short life in Australian detention centres and continues to suffer from anxiety disorders because of the trauma he suffered there.

“His eagerness to please, at school, at home and at church belies a deep and lingering uncertainty about safety,” she told the Assembly.

Members of the Assembly watched in silence a short multimedia presentation backed by the song “All in this together”.

After a number of days spent debating slight wording changes to other proposals, the Dignity in Humanity document was passed by consensus in a matter of minutes.

In keeping with this decision, Assembly then moved on to accept the statement Integrity and Justice in Employment Relationships as a response to the Federal Government’s WorkChoices legislation.

“The changes have already begun to threaten the livelihoods of Australia’s most vulnerable workers,” said Ms Poulos.

The Uniting Church has always been concerned for the most vulnerable in society, she said, adding, “UnitingJustice is asking that this Assembly does all it can to ensure our concern is matched by our practice.”

Read more 11th Assembly news HERE.