“Refugees are people who flee conflict and persecution, are protected by international law, because of their particular vulnerability, and should not be expelled or returned to situations where their lives and their freedom are at risk.”
This is how the message of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference (CEP) for World Refugee Day, 20 June 20, begins, Fides News Agency reported on June 19, 2019. “Welcoming Christ in refugees” is the title of the message, which cites the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and recalls that there are 25.4 million refugees in the world and 3.1 million who ask to be recognized as such.
The Bishops present the Peruvian reality: “Our country, for many years, protects people with these requirements, guaranteeing them refugee status. We currently have refugees of different nationalities, including Venezuelans, Cubans, Colombians, Palestinians, Syrians, Bengalis, Sri Lankans, and several African countries. People in need of shelter are exposed to multiple situations such as aggression, smuggling of migrants, fraud and other violations of their human rights, which is why the Catholic Church in Peru, faced with this challenge, paid particular attention to providing assistance and protection to these people. Even though the UN General Assembly on December 17, 2018, adopted the Global Refugee Pact, in order to strengthen cooperation and solidarity with the refugees and the host countries concerned by this phenomenon, much remains to be done in favor of refugees, in facing the globalization of indifference.”
CEP, following the example of Jesus, invites concrete action towards those who find themselves in situations of vulnerability, following Pope Francis who proposed four verbs to apply to pastoral work with refugees: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate.
“On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference wants to encourage the various states in the region, in particular, ours, to strengthen the mechanisms for access to reception and to apply an adequate definition of refugee. At the same time we urge Peruvian society not to be carried away by the ‘voices’ that encourage xenophobia, discrimination, and fear, but to build together the culture of encounter”, the Bishops conclude.
The message sent to Fides is signed by the President of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference and CELAM, Mgr. Miguel Cabrejos, and by the person responsible for the pastoral care of human mobility, Mgr. Daniel Turley.