The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) says it is saddened and disheartened by the way many governments have, in their response to the socio-economic needs of their people, excluded refugees and asylum seekers.
The Bishops say the COVID-19 pandemic has effected the entire world bringing proceedings to a stand still, exposed many inequalities, injustice and “our broken humanity”.
“As Catholic Bishops, we are concerned about their well-being and implore host countries not to exclude them when responding to the socio-economic needs, especially of the vulnerable during this time. We particularly ask the human family to exercise the four verbs of Welcoming, Protecting, Promoting and Integrating them as we have been encouraged by Pope Francis,” SACBC says in a statement.
“On this WRD it’s important to equally remind ourselves of the endless wars, persecutions and violations of human rights that have forced many to leave their homes and countries, in search of protection and safety,” the statement continues.
According to the UN Refugee Agency’s annual report, 80 million people are currently living as refugees or as internally displaced persons, most of whom live in deplorable conditions.
Today is World Refugee Day and the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Botswana, South Africa and Eswatini together with the United Nations (UN) say they celebrated the day by conducting a prayer for the well being of the refugees and protection over the world.
This year’s World Refugee Day theme is “ Everyone can make a difference. Every action counts.”
In the video below, SABC News takes a look at the plight foreign nationals living in Cape Town:
Call for International Refugees Protection Regime
The United Nations has called for the re-establishment of the integrity of the International Refugees Protection Regime, to support refugees and host communities.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande says the coronavirus pandemic has the potential to exacerbate the displacement of people across the globe, forcing them to flee their homes.
The pandemic, that began in China late last year, has infected more than 8.7 million people globally and claimed more than 463 000 lives. The number of recoveries is over 4.6 million.
Grande says citizens of war-torn and poor countries may flee as there are inadequate safety protocols in place to stem of the spread of the virus.
“The livelihood crisis I don’t know if that term is clear the poverty the increased poverty of these populations in my opinion coupled with lack of solution, perpetuation of conflict and in situations like the Sahel, deterioration of security, in my opinion there is no doubt that it will increase population movements in the regions but also beyond Europe for example.”
In the video below, the UN calls for end of crises that drive “appalling” displacements numbers:
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is calling on the African Union to show decisive leadership in ending conflict and instability on the continent. The party says restoring peace in conflicted zones will assist the plight of refugees.
The EFF is calling for the political and economic stability in South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Libya and other regions in Africa experiencing instability due to conflict.
Six million Africans are displaced due to violence and even climate change impact. The South African opposition party says Africa’s development is dependent on peace and integration.
The EFF says that Africans can’t be considered foreigners while in an African country. It encourages tolerance and support for those who have fled their homes in fear of their lives.
The EFF’s call also asks of all countries to extend humanitarian aid and internationalism by supporting refugees. – Additional reporting by Noma Bolani