As the world celebrates the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Caritas Ghana, the relief and development arm of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, has called on Ghanaians lobby government to relook at policies that are impacting migrants and refugees.
“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,” he said in a message to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on October 3.
In the message, Mr. Samuel Zan Akologo, Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Ghana “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, he said, his outfit 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.
He said 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, he noted, 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 Porters’ (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,” he said.
According to him, Caritas Ghana works assiduously to provide counseling and relief to people living in internal displacement, or at risk of becoming displaced as well as migrants and refugees.
In recent times, Ghana’s efforts 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.
Mr. Akologo noted that 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.”
“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, he pointed out.
He indicated that “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 practiced.”
“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.”
According to the Caritas Ghana CEO, the world’s less tolerance and the fierce resistance of migrants and refugees have never been starker, saying that “This is why we call for open-mindedness, acceptance, compassion and collaboration.”
“As António Guterres, UN Secretary-General puts 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.”
“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,” Mr. Akologo intimated, adding that “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.”