[Opinion] Caritas Ghana’s Message for 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDM)
As the world celebrates the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Caritas Ghana joins His Holiness Pope Francis and thousands of faith and non-faith actors, campaigners, aid workers and volunteers in their demand for emergency and sustained humanitarian relief for migrants, refugees, trafficked and Stateless persons among other Non-nationals without legal status‘ exposed to intensified risks of harm.
All over the world, people are losing their homes, forced out of their communities and countries, leaving their families and friends because of war, prosecution and hostile political climates. It has become untenable for them to live in their homes and lands.
This year’s theme by His Holiness Pope Francis Like Jesus Christ forced to flee. Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons is a reminder to the Catholic Church and the World at large that we must contribute to changing the narrative of migrants from one of fear, division and exclusion to one that reaffirms our shared values and embraces our shared humanity.
This theme further emphasizes the simple acts of kindness and empathy, to offer solidarity and support to vulnerable persons, to create a more welcoming and inclusive community for all especially in the era of COVID-19 that has worsened the plight of marginalized populations.
For Caritas Ghana, we are providing direct emergency interventions to marginalized persons, particularly under the Bishops’ Conference COVID-19 Response Plan. Through coordination with all the twenty (20) Dioceses and collaborating with state and non-state actors.
We are facilitating the resettlement and reintegration of ‘Head Potters’ (Kayayee) who are caught in the complex web of rural-urban migration as well as carrying out rescues and providing sustained psychotherapy to child victims of trafficking in-country reminding them that we are in this together. Caritas Ghana works assiduously to provide counselling and relief to people living in internal displacement, or at risk of becoming displaced as well as migrants and refugees.
In recent time, our efforts in Ghana have been outstretched by natural humanitarian crises of floods that have displaced entire communities and thousands of individuals in the Upper East and North East Regions. Caritas Ghana is close to these victims in love, empathy and solidarity at all times, even if our stretched hands cannot reach every one of them at the same time”
The world’s less tolerance and the fierce resistance of migrants and refugees have never been starker. This is why we call for open-mindedness, acceptance, compassion and collaboration. As António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) put it, “No country can fight the pandemic or manage migration alone. But together, we can contain the spread of the virus, buffer its impact on the most vulnerable and recover better for the benefit of all“.
Together, let us lobby our Government to consider the human lives being exploited and lost realistically, call out inhuman practices of xenophobia and cruel policies impacting migrants and refugees and not relent to do all in our collective power to create communities and homes of welcome for the vulnerable. We can do more!
We celebrate those who are at the forefront of emergency humanitarian relief, protecting and helping migrants and refugees to reclaim their lives and identities, especially in the era of COVID-19. As people of faith, the biblical call on us to be Good Samaritans, should not only be an advisory account to be heard and forgotten but one to be remembered and fully practised. Only by our respect, love and empathy can we truly fight fear and embrace migrants, refugees, trafficked and Stateless persons and other Non-nationals without legal status‘as our own.
Let us work with each other, side by side; guarding each one’s dignity, and saving each one’s pride; Then they will know we are Christians by our love, only by our love!
Let us also pray in similitude with the Pope, a Prayer suggested by the example of Saint Joseph at the time he was forced to flee to Egypt to save the child Jesus.
Father, you entrusted to Saint Joseph what you held most precious: the child Jesus and his mother, to protect them from the dangers and threats of the wicked. Grant that we may experience his protection and help. May he, who shared in the sufferings of those who flee from the hatred of the powerful, console and protect all our brothers and sisters driven by war, poverty and necessity to leave their homes and their lands to set out as refugees for safer places.
Help them, through the intercession of Saint Joseph, to find the strength to persevere, give them comfort in sorrows and courage amid their trials. Grant to those who welcome them some of the tender love of this just and wise father, who loved Jesus as a true son and sustained Mary at every step of the way.
May he, who earned his bread by the work of his hands, watch over those who have seen everything in life taken away and obtain for them the dignity of a job and the serenity of a home. We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom Saint Joseph saved by fleeing to Egypt and trusting in the intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom he loved as a faithful husband in accordance with your will. Amen.