Since 2001 every year, on June 20, we celebrate internationally the World Migrant and Refugee Day (WMRD) to highlight the plight of refugees and to celebrate their courage and resilience.
The Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network – Africa (JENA) joins the rest of the world in commemorating and celebrating the lives of refugees.
Through the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – often on the front lines of conflict -we in JENA witness the courage, tenacity, and brilliance of refugees every single day. As we honour refugees, we remind ourselves and the world at large that a lot still needs to be done in protecting refugees and their wellbeing.
In 2020 WMRD is commemorated at a time when we are under siege with Covid-19 pandemic that knows no borders and has ravaged so many lives across the globe. We have seen and witnessed in many places that this invisible and ruthless enemy is a virus that has added more burden on the lives of refugees and many other vulnerable forcibly displaced persons. We Jesuits and our collaborators in Africa and Madagascar are concerned about their wellbeing and implore host countries not to exclude them when responding to the socio-economic needs, especially of the vulnerable during this time.
It is, for this reason, we highlight our serious concern about the phobias that continue to make the life of refugees and other vulnerable migrants difficult and unbearable. Many of them have become victims of aporophobia, Afrophobia, and xenophobia even to the point of loss of life in some cases. We condemn these reactions to the presence of our refugees in host communities.
This year’s WMRD theme is “Everyone can make a difference. Every action counts.” It couldn’t have been more pertinent. JENA calls upon all people of goodwill to take it upon themselves to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate refugees in their communities and countries as Pope Francis encourages us to do. We call for the promotion of a genuine culture of hospitality and solidarity. Every one of us can indeed make a difference and surely every action counts.
On this WMRD we equally remind ourselves of the endless wars, persecutions and violations of human rights that have forced many to leave their homes and countries, in search of protection and safety. Many of them have been caused by the loud guns that have been reverberating all over the continent of Africa and mostly robbing our young Africans of their youth.
JENA joins and supports the African Union in its call to silencing the guns in the African continent. These guns have done enough damage to our continent, our people, and retarded development for far too long. Unless there is stability and peace in Africa, where justice and respect for human rights prevail, we cannot have development and there will certainly be no prosperity.
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Fr Charles Chilufya SJ firstname.lastname@example.org + 254 786 584 784
Fr Rampe Hlobo SJ email@example.com +27 82 549 1285
Fr Eric Goeh-Akue SJ firstname.lastname@example.org +237 670 284 990
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