The Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney has overwhelmingly called for the release of children in immigration detention.

The motion was passed on the fourth day of the Synod, or church parliament, meeting at the Wesley Theatre in Sydney.

In a resolution qualified by what was described as ‘the difficulty of framing a just refugee policy in a war torn and poverty stricken world’ the Synod called on the Australian government to end the immigration detention of children, and committed to pray for the Prime Minister and for the Minister for Immigration in their work.

The mover, the Rev Michael Jensen of Darling Point, told Synod “Even were it the case that the asylum seekers held in detention on Christmas Island and Nauru are there as the result of their own illegal activity, their children are not.”

“And yet, as of September, there remain 603 children behind the wire of Australia’s secure immigration detention facilities. This situation cannot be just.” Mr Jensen said.

The motion noted “the intention of political leaders to achieve a just outcome in trying
circumstances” yet also “the concern of bodies like the AMA for the mental health of children of asylum seekers in immigration detention.”

“The children in detention do not live in my street. And yet: they are my neighbours. I am – we are – responsible for them.” Mr Jensen said.