It is 7:30pm, in Amatlan, in the province of Cordoba Veracruz. The train whistle blows in the distance. In Norma Romero Vazquez’ kitchen, headquarters of the “Patronas ”, women bustle about.. Carmen, 90, the oldest of the women in the family, takes a crate filled with bags of food.
Along with her daughters and granddaughters, Carmen goes to the railway that passes about ten meters away from her house. Over a distance of a kilometer, the fifteen women share the crates out between themselves. When the light of the train appears, they get as close as possible to the tracks and stretch out their arms laden with food bags. “God bless you”, cry the migrants aboard the goods train. In a few minutes, the train has gone. Back to Norma’s kitchen.
For over 15 years, Carmen, Norma and the others have been handing out food, clothing and medicines to the migrants on […]
By Laura Sheahen, “When I got home, my family saw my condition and cried.” Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. More than a year later, she came back covered with bruises. She’d worked long hours in a private Saudi home, getting about four hours of sleep each night as she struggled to keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. The family she worked for rarely paid her, and when she asked for her salary, they sent her back to the employment agents in Riyadh. She can’t say exactly what happened next. She remembers fighting back when they tried to strip her, and ripping one of the agent’s shirts. When she arrived at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, she was black and blue. “I was crying bitterly. People surrounded me,” she says. A woman at the […]
Campaigners are hoping that the plight of Sri Lankan death row housemaid Rizana Nafeek could end soon with her release from a Saudi Arabian prison and her return home.
Rizana Nafeek 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.
Riyadh Acting Governor Prince Sattam updated Sri Lankan officials last month, saying that a Reconciliation Committee is currently negotiating with the aggrieved parents to settle the case either with a pardon or the payment of ‘blood money’. The Sri Lankan government is ready to pay.
The Caritas Sri Lanka National Director Fr. George Sigamoney recently visited the family of Rizana Nafeek to keep them updated. Caritas Sri Lanka is still doing all it […]
By Fr. Francisco Gallardo, director of the Caritas migrant house at Matamoros, near Mexico’s border with the USA.
People leave their homes in search of the “American dream” but they end up coming to us looking for lodging, clothes and help.
Many of them arrive completely exhausted. There are people who’ve been kidnapped and who come to us full of fear. They’ve been tortured and abused and are in a pitiful state.
Most of those who come to us are men. There are very few women and children. Sometimes people come with children but they can’t prove they are their parents. We think that they’re taking the children to their real parents in the US.
We’ve been working with migrants in this diocese for the past 24 years. Originally, we opened our doors to migrants who came from the centre and the south of Mexico. But then the situation became more dramatic and […]
The Sister* from Caritas Sri Lanka searches for the women migrant workers who’ve returned home abused and traumatised, their dream of saving a nest egg for their families shattered.
Chandrangani Gunathilaka’s story is one of the worst the Sister has heard. Chandrangani went to Kuwait as a maid in January 2010, paying agents over $200, but quickly fell ill when her employers starved her. Her agents smacked her head against a wall and stood on her chest when she asked for another job. Coughing up blood, Chandrangani made it to the Sri Lankan Embassy.
“ There were many suffering people there,” she said. “Some were burned. Many were beaten.” Chandrangani ended up in a wheelchair.
The Sister, who sets up safe migration programmes for Caritas Sri Lanka, arranged for medical treatment. Chandrangani can now take a few steps and deeply appreciates the Sister ’s help and counselling. “Nobody else came to visit […]
In Tinzawaten there’s next to nothing to eat or drink, the houses are roofless shells, it’s freezing at night, scorching in the day, murder and rape go unpunished, women are sold as slaves and babies are born in the open.
This is the desert of Mali. The people of Tinzawaten are migrants who’ve been deported from Algeria, shoved across the border and dumped with nothing.
The harrowing scene is described by Fr Jerome Otitoyomi Dukiya at a conference organised by the Caritas Internationalis General Secretariat and Caritas Senegal in Saly, Senegal. Fr Jerome said, “Algeria signed an agreement with the EU in exchange for financial and development aid that migrants would only be returned to their own countr y. The deal doesn’t mean abandoning them to years of limbo in places like Tinzawaten. But who’s making a fuss about it?”
Caritas is. It is advocating for full legal protection for migrants, especially […]
Caritas Internationalis calls on the International Labour Conference (1-17 June, Geneva) to create legal protection for domestic workers by adopting the “Decent work for domestic workers” Convention and Recommendation.
Caritas statement to the ILC
Caritas has been advocating for legal rights for domestic migrant workers with its “Under one roof, under one law” campaign. Migrant workers, especially women and children, are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Caritas wants Article 7 of the proposed Convention concerning migrant domestic workers to be given full recognition. The Convention is being proposed by the International Labour Organisation. If adopted at the Conference, it would move then to ratification and implementation in national and international law.
Caritas will be participating in a side event on 3-4 June alongside its partner organisations at the Geneva Ecumenical Centre.
Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Advocacy, said: “We don’t have proper laws to protect domestic workers. The International Labour Conference is […]
Alice was 25 when she left her job in Manila, the Philippines. She is a qualified civil engineer, yet her salary was not enough to pay for her four brothers and sisters to go through school. When she saw an advertisement offering well-paid posts as civil engineers in Kuwait, she contacted the recruitment agency immediately.
She had to pay half the agency’s fees up front, agreeing to repay the rest on taking up her position. But when she arrived in Kuwait she was told to sign a contract to work as a domestic servant. The agency refused to allow her to return to the Philippines, insisting that she take up the post and pay them the money she owed. For two and a half years she worked as a domestic servant for a family. She never had a day off, and regularly worked 20 hour days.
“Child trafficking and sexual exploitation […]
Starting with a small team of three people in 1994, the Caritas Migration Centre today helps thousands of foreigners living in Lebanon.
In spite of political and economic difficulties, Lebanon hosts many refugees in need of protection and better living conditions. Palestinians, Sudanese, and tens of thousands of Iraqis are now in the country..
Caritas Lebanon provides help, legal council and assistance, medical aid, and support with the education of children.
The outburst of violence in Iraq in 2003 initiated a surge of refugees into the country, so that Caritas Lebanon quickly had to develop its capabilities and today there are six centres dedicated to help the Iraqis.
The Centre is also very active in the protection and the defence of the rights of women who have come to Lebanon as domestic workers.
Originating in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia, they are sometimes the victims of ill treatment. Caritas helps the victims and also […]
Caritas is calling on European governments to stop the criminalization of migrants as outlined in new EU legislation.
Caritas organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean have urged Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and European Union states to review their harmful common migration policies.
Caritas and church organisation in Europe backed the call, saying the EU must respect human rights.
A European Parliament directive on 18 June threatens to turn migrants into criminals and allows for their expulsion.
Caritas Latin America and Caribbean President, Bishop Fernando Bargalló says that this policy is opposite to a safe, humane and coherent migratory system that has at its heart the fundamental rights of the human person.
Bishop Fernando Bargalló said “Caritas is urging the European Parliament to reconsider legislation which criminalises honest migrants who are trying to bring their families out of poverty.
“The European Union has benefited for years from the efforts of hard working migrants […]