By Maria Suelzu, International Advocacy Officer, Migration Team, Caritas Internationalis On 15 February I attended an event organised by Vatican Radio. It was a reading of some excerpts from the books written by women migrants who had taken part in the literary competition “Lingua Madre” (Mother Tongue) in Italy. I was moved by the stories of these migrant women and by the quality of their writing. My role was that of presenting the activities of the Caritas Confederation for women migrants. Below you will find the text of my speech.
Under a blanket given by Caritas, a mother and child try to keep out the freezing cold temperatures and snow as they sleep out in the open in one of the parks of the Syrian capital Damascus. They are just two of 1.5 million people forced from their homes during the country’s civil war. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and injured in the fighting in Syria. Each day, many people live in fear of dying in a car bomb, having members of their families raped, or quite simply not being able to find enough food. With support from many other Caritas organisations, Caritas Syria has been providing food, medical assistance, helping children keep up with school and ensuring people are prepared for the winter. It has been working in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hassakeh, Horan and on the coast. In the midst of a harsh winter, Syrians face freezing conditions, [...]
Caritas Sri Lanka Director Fr George Sigamoney says he is deeply upset by the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia on 9 January. Caritas had fought for her release since she was sentenced in 2007 to beheading for strangling a baby she was looking after as a nanny in 2005. Rizana was just a minor herself when the tragedy took place. She maintains that it was an accident caused by her inexperienced efforts to save the baby from choking. "Unfortunately, what we expected to happen happened," he said. "As a representative of the Church and of Caritas I want to express my sorrow and solidarity to Rizana's family. I pray for them that they may have the courage needed to face their pain and get through this moment." "I want to remember Rizana in another way," Fr George said. "As a nation, we must reflect and weep for [...]
Caritas India says capital punishment is not a deterent against crimes of sexual violence, but improved protection for women and a national school curriculum that tackle these issues will help. Last month, a 23-year-old student died of her injuries after being raped in the capital Delhi. Five men have been charged with her murder and are facing trial. If convicted, they face the death penalty. In recommendations to the Justice J.S. Verma Committee, formed by the government to recommend safety measures for women, Caritas India urged for curriculums from school levels onwards to tackle the issue of violenece and abuse agaisnt women and girls. “The need of the hour is to revolutionize our thinking through education,” said Patrick Hansda, a young public relations officer at Caritas India. The Verma committee’s recommendations in less than a month from now will be considered in amending laws for speedier justice and punishment in sexual assault cases [...]
Pope Benedict has called for a ceasefire in Syria and for the international community to engage in a constructive dialogue. In an address to the Holy See's diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict called on diplomats "to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. "I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins." Read more...
By Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva In many countries of the world, in both global North and global South, much attention is given to the legal status of migrants. As we observe World Migration Day 2012, Caritas Internationalis wishes to call attention to the full range of needs of migrants, including their right to enjoy good health as well as access to health care. Much discrimination is experienced by migrants as a result of national and local health policies that are founded on such factors as racial, ethnic, cultural and religious prejudice; xenophobia; fear that migrants drain financial resources from a host population; and misunderstanding or misperception of the contributions made by migrants to host populations. Faith-inspired organisations, such as Caritas, engage in health-related advocacy with migrants in order to assure equitable access to health care, in accord with the vision developed by [...]