By Vatican News
Migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of human trafficking are amongst the most vulnerable people in our society. During the Covdid-19 pandemic, they have become even more so, subjected to numerous types of injustice and discrimination that threaten their rights, security and health.
That’s why the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development has been issuing weekly bulletins aimed at sharing information and heightening awareness regarding problems, solutions and initiatives put into practice by the various Catholic actors who accompany vulnerable people and communities on the move.
This week’s bulletin, # 8, analyses the way in which “in the poorer corners of the globe — in refugee camps, slums and Indigenous communities — the Church is emerging as a critical line of defense against COVID-19”.
Catholic organisations responding to the crisis
Catholic Relief Service (CRS), the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and local Caritas organisations have been providing services around the world. In Jordan, hotlines have been set up and online courses organised to continue providing support to ICMC beneficiaries. Caritas organisations in Macau and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been distributing food, household items and tools – especially in areas, such as in DRC, where a humanitarian crisis, triggered by conflict, has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
Local Churches responding to the crisis
The Catholic Bishops of India have intervened to assist and protect stranded migrant workers, specifically by distributing food kits to the workers and their families living in temporary settlements. The Church in India is also hosting around 200 migrants divided into three structures.
A campaign promoted by the bishops of Venezuela and Colombia has enabled 3,000 Venezuelans to return home, via the José Antonio Páez International Bridge, humanitarian corridor.
A Catholic Church-run home in Mexico is fighting coronavirus and xenophobia, hosting Central and South American migrants who were sent back from the US border and obliged to return to their country of origin via Mexico. Its residents are all provided with medical certificates by the home, in cooperation with Doctors Without Borders.
Religious Congregations responding to the crisis
Around the world religious congregations have been welcoming migrants. These include Scalabrinian missionaries in Mexico and two congregations in Spain. Jesuits in Central Africa have also undertaken several initiatives such as food delivery, the distribution of sanitising equipment and the organisation of emergency services for people living with HIV/AIDS, who are particularly vulnerable at this time.