The Church in Kenya has reiterated Pope Francis’ message calling for the protection of child migrants and refugees.
Governments and political leaders in countries where refugees are fleeing conflict have been encouraged to ensure peace in their countries and create conditions that are favourable for their own people. If this is done, many children and young people would be spared much of the suffering that comes from the trauma of being refugees and migrants.
In reference to Pope Francis’ message on the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees marked last Sunday, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (KCCB) Chairman of the Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers, Bishop Joseph Alessandro said many refugee children are suffering at the hands of malicious and unscrupulous people.
“In the present world and in many places, people are trafficking children and introducing them to prostitution, pornography, drugs, child labour and (as) soldiers. These children are disadvantaged by being foreigners and have no means to protect themselves hence should be looked after,” the Bishop said.
Bishop Alessandro called on the faithful in Kenya to put into practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy by welcoming and integrating refugees and migrants in their midst. He urged them to do something about the needs of migrants and refugees especially those who are young.
“Help young refugees and migrants since they have no voice. They have the right to belong, to good health and a stable family and to adequate education both at home and at school. They need models to emulate and time for recreation and to mingle with others,” The Bishop emphasised.
Pope Francis in his Sunday message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees titled, “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless” made a heartfelt appeal on behalf of migrants and refugees.
“Since this is a complex phenomenon, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. Wars, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental imbalance and disasters, are all causes of this problem. Children are the first to suffer, at times suffering torture and other physical violence, in addition to moral and psychological aggression, which almost always leave indelible scars,” the Holy Father said.
(Rose Achiego in Nairobi)