There are currently 70.8 million people in the world forced to flee, victims of conflicts, persecutions, violence or natural disasters, of which 25.9 million are recognized refugees. The numbers, the complexity and the duration of today’s conflicts mean that forced displacements have reached an unprecedented level and there are not enough answers to offer solutions to these people, so that they can rebuild their lives.
So Sister Neusa de Fatima Mariano, superior general of the Missionary Sisters of San Carlo Borromeo / Scalabriniane, on the occasion of the international refugee day of 20 June, declared by the UN.
Pope Francis, Sister Neusa continues, reminds us that “in every refugee Jesus is present, forced to flee, as in the time of Herod, to save himself. In their faces we are called to recognize the face of Christ”. Globally, three quarters of refugees and many migrants live in developing nations, where health care systems were already overloaded and, with the COVID – 19 pandemic, have collapsed – she continues, many refugees live in overcrowded camps, makeshift shelters or reception centers where they do not have access to health services, safe drinking water or even toilets.
Most of them are located in recognized or informal detention centers, in situations of isolation and particularly distressing hygienic conditions. Migrants and refugees are disproportionately exposed to the vulnerability of exclusion, stigma and discrimination, especially when they are in the status of irregularity. The Church focuses its thoughts on the experience of Jesus, displaced and refugee together with his parents “.
“They are not numbers, but people, knowing their stories will enable us to understand them,” the Pontiff wrote in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “When refugees become numbers, humanity becomes inhumanity,” Sister Neusa continues.
The Scalabrinian sisters ask the politicians, local, national and international leaders “not to passively witness the destruction of many lives in threat. It is essential to identify appropriate solutions, human and deserving means to ensure that people do not risk their own lives and that of their families, resorting to unscrupulous traffickers or using fragile boats, trying to reach places where they can find security at various levels.”