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World Migrants and Refugees Day: T&T society must ‘counter xenophobic thoughts and actions’

“[…] The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) and the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) call upon the society of Trinidad and Tobago to come together in the spirit of community and counter xenophobic thoughts and actions so that we may best ‘welcome, protect, promote and integrate’ the most vulnerable within society, which includes the migrant and refugee populations living with us…”

The following is a press statement from the Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) on World Migrants and Refugees Day:

Photo: Venezuelan children at a UNHCR shelter.

Today, Sunday, September 26, 2021 marks the 107th World Migrants and Refugees Day. Pope Francis’ message for this year’s commemoration is ‘Towards an Ever Wider We’. 

The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) and the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) call upon the society of Trinidad and Tobago to come together in the spirit of community and counter  xenophobic thoughts and actions so that we may best ‘welcome, protect, promote and integrate’ the most vulnerable within society, which includes the migrant and refugee populations living with us. 

To quote Pope Francis: 

“Once this health crisis [the coronavirus pandemic] passes, our worst response would be to plunge even more deeply into feverish consumerism and new forms of egotistic self-preservation. God willing, after all this, we will think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those’, but only ‘us’.

For this reason, I have wished to devote the Message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the theme, Towards an Ever Wider We, in order to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world.” 

Photo: African refugees in Israel.

The CCSJ and the AMMR aim to reach these marginalised populations within society, in particular, migrant and refugee families and children who are the most vulnerable. Our work focuses on advocacy, legal and healthcare programmes and consistent parish outreach, which provide assistance in the form of food, clothing and housing. 

We would like to make special mention of our UNICEF-funded Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) which provide psycho-social support and English language programmes to migrant and refugee children to facilitate integration. 

On this 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we call upon not only the Catholic community but the wider society of T&T to come together in solidarity to uplift our country and humanity, thereby embracing ‘the wider we’. 

Editor’s Note: For further information on the CCSJ, please contact Dominique Heffes-Doon at socialmedia.ccsj@catholictt.org or see our Facebook page, CCSJ Trinidad and Tobago and Instagram page @Social_Justicett. 

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