ICMC stands in solidarity with migrants and refugees throughout the world: “Be not afraid”
Geneva, 1 February 2017 - “Be not afraid” were the words with which St. John Paul II greeted the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square on the night that he was chosen as Pope. Today, those words seem more important than ever, as our world confronts, with much fear and dread, the destruction of life and homes during wars, conflicts, and random acts of terrorism. Regrettably, those who suffer the most from this violence - the 65 million refugees and forcibly displaced people - are often falsely blamed for these threats and upheavals. These reactions have resulted in stigma and discrimination, rejection and marginalization by the general public, as well as severe legal restrictions in all parts of the world.
Since 1951, upon the special request of Pope Pius XII, the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) has been serving refugees and migrants in all parts of the world, regardless of faith, race, ethnicity or nationality. For many years, ICMC has assisted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United States and other governments to process resettlement applications for vulnerable refugees who cannot return home and cannot permanently stay in the countries where they first sought protection. As resettled refugees share their stories with us, we have no doubt about the positive social, cultural, and economic contributions by these persons to the local communities which host them.
In addition, we offer humanitarian assistance, access to health care, educational opportunities, and daily living supplies to forced migrants who are most in need. We listen with compassion and solidarity as they share their pain and trauma as well as their hopes for a bright new future, especially for their children. We network with Catholic Church and other faith and civil society leaders, and local governments, to provide warm welcome, hospitality as they adjust to their new communities.
Please meet some refugees and migrants whom we, at ICMC, have come to know and love, while we accompany them on all phases of their journeys. They include... a mother who has had her heart and spirit broken while watching her children suffer, a father who weeps at the loss of his son to violence, a child who no longer knows school or play, a grandmother whose many medical ailments go unchecked – but she never complains, and she eats smaller meals so that there will be enough food for her growing grandchildren. For and with these and millions of others, we advocate on global, national, and local levels to promote just laws and policies toward refugees and migrants in accord with human dignity and international law and agreements.
Today we ask you to join the world-wide family of ICMC supporters, staff, and beneficiaries by standing in solidarity for and with all refugees and migrants. In both our prayer and action, let us ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity and are offered unhindered access to protection.
We urge you: "Be Not Afraid" of our brothers and sisters who have escaped from terror and still are uncertain of their future, suspended between the life they had built and the life they hope to rebuild.
For our part, ICMC will continue to protect and serve uprooted people, including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, survivors of human trafficking, and migrants.
We also encourage you to share your thoughts, prayers, and words of support through ICMC’s #HandsOfMercy campaign. Visit the page to know more!