Lima (Agenzia Fides) - "We call on the authorities to implement complete and fair immigration policies, which guarantee the human rights of these people on the move, at the same time we urge Peruvian society to put aside any attitude of rejection, xenophobia or discrimination", is the appeal from the Peruvian Bishops, who on the occasion of the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Sunday, September 25, will join Pope Francis who in his message invites us to "build the future with migrants and refugees, placing them at the center of our pastoral action".
The Episcopal Conference (CEP) recalls that the world continues to experience the Covid-19 pandemic, which has increased social and economic differences in Peru. In particular, "migrants, refugees and asylum seekers have seen their quality of life compromised, such as their access to rights to health, food, work, among others". The effects of this pandemic have a particular impact on 284 million migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and on the 89.3 million forcibly displaced people in the world (27.1 million are refugees and 4.6 million are asylum seekers), according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Citing the message of the Holy Father for Migrant Day 2022, the Peruvian Bishops underline that "the construction of the Kingdom of God requires the presence and participation of all his sons and daughters" and urge "to know how to recognize the contribution that the migrants and refugees bring to our societies". "As Bishops of Peru - they continue - we join in prayer with the more than three million compatriots residing abroad and with the thousands of internally displaced people, encouraging them to continue to preserve and strengthen their faith, integrating, respecting and enriching the communities that generously welcome them".
Likewise, the Bishops are in solidarity with all migrants of various nationalities present in Peru, in particular with Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The latest issue of the CEP Human Mobility Pastoral Newsletter, published in September, reports that the Venezuelan exodus represents the largest migration crisis in the continent's recent history, with 6 million citizens forced to leave their land to seek better living conditions in neighboring countries. About 1,286,464 Venezuelans have arrived in Peru and 531,000 requests for recognition of refugee status have been submitted to the Special Commission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Peru ranks second in the world for number of Venezuelans residing and first for refugee recognition requests. About 90% of Venezuelans in Peru devote themselves to informal economic activities to support themselves, which have stalled following the pandemic and have only recently been reactivated.
The Episcopal Conference in its message for World Day thanks and highlights the pastoral service and accompaniment carried out by many pastoral workers in the country to people on the move, encouraging them to continue to bring the loving presence of Jesus Christ among them.
On the occasion of the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, 25 September, the Pastoral Care of Human Mobility (PMH) of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference has created a pastoral aid, inspired by the Pope's Message, to live this Day and promote liturgical celebrations and cultural encounters in every church, center, community, local institution, to create together the "culture of encounter". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 20/9/2022)