Rose Achiego – Nairobi, Kenya
In his homily during celebrations to mark World Day of Refugees at the Divine Word Parish in Nairobi, this week, Fr. Rono said it is everyone’s global responsibility to promote a cohesive society, peaceful coexistence and to support refugees due to their vulnerability.
Awareness helps communities empathise with refugees
“Refugees are vulnerable and in need,” said Fr. Rono. “They are often misunderstood and maligned, and usually have very little or nothing of their possessions, including food. They suffer cold, hunger, trauma, despair, disease, violence and loss and therefore, it is important to create awareness and to help the public understand refugees and support them,” Fr. Rono emphasised.
Conflicts create refugees and cause other people to suffer and make them leave their homes, ending up scattered all over the world, said Fr. Rono. He called for internal integration, compassion and tolerance, adding that Pope Francis refers to the world as a workshop of peace, where people should interact peacefully, putting aside their differences.
Let us support the UN and those who help refugees
Fr. Rono also prayed for organisations and groups like the United Nations (UNCHR) and the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), that have the responsibility of working with refugees. He prayed that they continue to discharge their duties faithfully with commitment and dedication. He further urged people of good will to be ready to support these organisations financially.
AMECEA praises Kenyan hospitality
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), Fr. Anthony Makunde expressed gratitude to Kenya for opening her doors to refugees, saying the country was an excellent example in hospitality. He equally paid tribute to organisations and individuals that provide services and assistance to refugees.
Number of refugees in the world on the increase
War, violence and persecution are the main drivers of a record number of people who flee their homes and become refugees.
According to the latest annual study released by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the yearly Global Trends, report says there are now 70.8 million children, women and men forcibly displaced from their homes as at the close of the year 2018. This is the highest number ever in UNCHR’s 70-year history.
The report on refugees, however, says it encouraged by the generosity and solidarity demonstrated by host communities who are usually also struggling economically.