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Archbishop wants laws to protect refugees
Archbishop Jason Gordon has called for legislation to be passed to protect refugees.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church yesterday launched the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees.
The launch took place to coincide with the day declared by the United Nations as World Refugee Day.
As he launched the initiative Gordon appealed to the country to “stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees and to promote their human rights. Let’s pray to ensure that there is a place at the table of life for all,” he said.
The initiative of the Roman Catholic Church was first announced in May when Gordon signalled that all Roman Catholic Parishes across the country would be asked to set up the Migrants and Refugees Ministry.
Yesterday, he described it as the Church’s attempt to reach to the people “on the fringe of society,” as he appealed to people to open their arms to those persons and to “find ways to welcome them into our families and parish life.”
Gordon urged that everyone do their part to “give them dignity, treat them like real human beings.”
A four-member committee has been set up within the Roman Catholic Church to oversee the project. They are head of the Living Water Community Rhonda Maingot, whose group has been spearheading assistance to migrants and refugees for the past 29 years, head of the Catholic Commission for Social Justice Leela Ramdeen, Fr Simon Peter and Rochelle Nakhid of the Living Water Community.
In trying to get the widest possible participation Nakhid said: “we hope to reach out to the Anglicans, the Adventists, Muslims and Hindus to see how they can provide support.”
Many of those seeking refuge, Ramdeen said, are highly skilled and have been reduced to doing menial jobs including people’s homes to ensure that they put food on their tables.” We have to harness their skills and get them to realise their full potential.”
Ramdeen noted that the initiative was not just about Venezuelan refugees noting there are migrants and refugees here from 20 other countries and they all need help and support.
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