‘Do not lose hope,’ a Kenyan bishop has told the 600,000 refugees welcomed in his African nation.
According to Fides, Bishop Virgilio Pante of Maralal, Vice President of the Commission for Refugees and Migrants of the Kenya Episcopal Conference, said this, noting, “Every 15 minutes a person becomes displaced in the world.”
Despite difficulties, the African bishop called on the refugees to stay hopeful during his homily for the World Day of Migrants Day, which fell on June 20, but for organizational reasons, the Mass at St. John the Baptist Riruta Parish in Nairobi was celebrated yesterday, 22 June. Refugees living in Kenya from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan attended the Mass.
“Be strong in faith and believe in God,” he said. “Remember that even Jesus Christ sought refuge in Africa.”
Moreover, Bishop Pante also appealed to Kenyans to avoid tribalism and racism, and instead help refugees to have access to school and work.
The bishop asked the Kenyan government to allow the voluntary repatriation of Somalis who wish to return home, but not to expel by force the Somalis who do not want to do it.
Kenya has decided to close Dadaab camp, which has been home to 350,000 Somali refugees after the recent terrorist attacks attributed to the Shabaab in Somalia.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya welcomes 600,000 refugees. Out of 50 million refugees in the world, Kenya is the fourth host country with regards to the total number of refugees, after Pakistan, Iran and Germany. (D.C.L.)