Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - Exclusion of refugees from COVID-19 responses and vaccinations, show that we still have not fully appreciated or understood the wisdom in the saying "none of us are safe until we are all safe", reports Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC, which includes the Bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland), in a message on the occasion of the World Refugee Day celebrated yesterday, Sunday 20 June.
"Refugees in various African countries continue to be excluded from programs to combat Covid-19 including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and vaccination against the coronavirus", says the SACBC, which calls on governments to promote and support the access to health services for refugees. The SACBC denounces the "vaccine nationalism" adopted by the richest countries, which first thought about securing their own population, and the selfish responses that have displayed the "deep-seated crisis of solidarity or lack thereof that prevails in the international political system and community". "Only by ensuring that all are vaccinated against the virus that the fight against the virus will be won", underline the Bishops who recall the teaching of St. John Paul II in his Sollicitudo Rei Socialis: "the virtue of solidarity as a firm and enduring commitment to the common good, that may often entail personal sacrifice by some members of the community to protect the basic rights of other, more vulnerable members". "The COVID-19 responses and vaccinations, show that we still have not fully appreciated or understood the wisdom in the saying, "none of us are safe until we are all safe". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 21/6/2021)