6th May, 2016

A poster advertising the upcoming National Day of Prayer for the mothers of refugees this Sunday.

Christian refugee advocates are calling on churches to join in a National Day of Prayer for mothers whose children are in one of Australia's offshore detention centres this Sunday.

The call from the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce is aimed to coincide with Mother's Day and the group says that already some 5,000 Christians in churches across Australia will be participating.

Rev Dr John Catt, chairperson of the taskforce, said that as churches "cherish and hold in prayer our own mothers this Sunday, we must also be challenged to acknowledge and pray for the mothers who are victims of our border politics."

"Mothers of refugees are very significant in the Biblical narrative, including the mother of Moses and the mother of Jesus. They are all-too-forgotten victims of detention policies, who must live with the daily uncertainty about their children's freedom, safety and health."

Misha Coleman, executive office of the taskforce, says that as a mother, watching a recent Four Corners report on the death of a young man on Manus Island "really made me think about the impact that offshore detention camps such as Manus Island have on the mothers of people seeking asylum".

Last week, the Supreme Court in Papua New Guinea ruled that the Manus Island detention centre breached the constitutional right of asylum seekers to personal liberty and ordered the Australian and PNG governments to cease the detention of asylum seekers on the island.

~ www.arct.com.au

- DAVID ADAMS