JULY 2020 – Congratulations Sister Brigid Arthur csb!
Sr Brigid and Sr Catherine Kelly co-founded the Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP) in 2001; since then it has grown in strength. Sr Catherine who specialised in visa applications died in 2015 and Sr Brigid continued as the driving force behind the project. From 2001 until 2020 Sr Brigid has visited detention centres and championed the cause of detainees. In 2011-12 there were nearly 3,000 minors in closed detention in Australia and by 2013 the numbers of families in detention in Australia had increased. Sr Brigid identified a group of vulnerable young Afghan boys at MITA and became their litigation guardian and with legal assistance took action all the way to the High Court. The intention of the litigation was to change the law to stop children from being held in detention. While this action saved these boys it did not change the law.
The BASP not only supports detainees but advocates to get detainees into the community and settles and supports them in the community by sourcing accommodation, furniture etc. Over the life of the project many hundreds of people have been able to live in BASP houses. In addition BASP undertakes community education and fundraising, visits schools to speak about asylum seekers, takes asylum seekers on outings and provides meals.
The aims of BASP are
- to provide hospitality and practical support for asylum seekers
- actively network with like-minded individuals and groups who are working for justice for asylum seekers
- promote advocacy for the rights of asylum seekers
- raise awareness of asylum seeker issues and concerns through a range of activities
In 2016 Sr Brigid and Pamela Curr visited asylum seekers on Christmas Island.
For the last 18 years BASP has operated as a provider that steps in when other agencies, for a range of reasons, are unable to support people seeking asylum.
In the video, Sr. Brgid provides a summary of her observance on how detainees go about their daily life in detention centres.