September 15, 2011

Time to free Rizana Nafeek

By |15 September 2011|

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 [...]

July 11, 2011

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    American dream ends in mass graves for migrants heading north

American dream ends in mass graves for migrants heading north

By |11 July 2011|

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 female face of migration

By |7 July 2011|

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 [...]

Migration conference in Senegal

By |7 July 2011|

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 [...]

March 10, 2011

A woman’s world?

By |10 March 2011|

Across the globe, women do 66% of the world’s work and produce 50% of its food, yet earn only 10% its income and own 1% of its property. Such figures show just how far we still have to go in the struggle to achieve the genuine equality and empowerment of women worldwide, an objective set down in the third Millennium Development Goal. Listen to Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis policy director, interviewed by Vatican Radio for International Women's Day 2011.

February 28, 2011

Caritas in Uruguay to tackle urban and domestic violence

By |28 February 2011|

Urban and domestic violence has become a more pressing problem in Uruguay. Caritas Uruguay decided to push forward peaceful conflict resolution programmes throughout the country.

December 2, 2010

Greater protection of women migrants essential

By |2 December 2010|

Caritas Internationalis urged its 165 national members to unite to protect the rights of women migrants at the end of its special ‘Female face of Migration’ conference. Over 100 representatives from the Caritas confederation of Catholic charities and other migration experts from 50 countries attended the three-day conference in Saly, Senegal, 30 November to 2 December. Speaking at the end, Caritas Internationalis Secretary-General Lesley-Anne Knight said, “Behind the difficulties that women migrants face, there is always poverty and a lack of a sense of belonging and of being part of a family. “Caritas organisations should get involved at a local and national level, lobby political and religious leaders and open their hearts to their sisters and brothers who are seeking peace and security in their country.” Caritas calls for effective and lasting international solutions to protect women migrants and ensure they are supported to make informed choices. Women represent roughly half of the world’s [...]

November 22, 2010

  • Marion visits Caritas Jordan to collect some food supplies.

Credits: Michelle Hough/Caritas
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    Migrant women at great risk of exploitation, abuse and insecurity

Migrant women at great risk of exploitation, abuse and insecurity

By |22 November 2010|

Caritas says women are suffering from exploitation, abuse, trafficking and lack labour rights as they migrate in greater numbers. It says governments are failing to implement policies to protect vulnerable women migrants. Caritas representatives from all over the world and a range of high-level migration experts from international organisations will discuss these issues at the conference “The female face of migration” in Saly, Senegal from 30 November to 2 December 2010. Dr. Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, said,  “As poverty, conflict and climate change force more people from their homes, Caritas is working to protect their rights, especially those of women. Supporting migrants continues to be a major part of our work worldwide, from counselling before they leave their homes to medical, livelihood and legal support once they have reached their destinations, as well as assistance for those who want to get back to their homes. Caritas does not just [...]

August 29, 2010

Trafficking in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By |29 August 2010|

In the middle of 1990 people trafficking became a very serious and complicated problem in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Pan Asia campaign against trafficking

By |29 August 2010|

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 [...]

Caritas statement on human trafficking

By |29 August 2010|

Sanumaya Tamang and Sani Tam-ang were both 16 when they were taken to brothels in India. More than 10,000 women and children form Nepal are trafficked into India every year. Internal conflict, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in Nepal are the root causes of the problem. In India, Caritas is working with authorities to toughen government boarder controls to shut down the activity. Caritas works around the global to combat trafficking. Caritas strongly condemns trafficking as a criminal act that violates basic human rights. Caritas is committed to taking decisive actions To raise public awareness and enable people to take preventative actions Caritas works in communities with at risk groups to explain the dangers of trafficking.Caritas also works with various key groups such as doctors, religious, social workers and government officials to build a long-term network of awareness building. To advocate for alternatives for vulnerable people Caritas works to provide alternatives to vulnerable groups who are looking to [...]

Lebanon Migration Center

By |29 August 2010|

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 [...]
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    Caritas urges European Union not to turn migrants into criminals

Caritas urges European Union not to turn migrants into criminals

By |29 August 2010|

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 [...]

Fight Trafficking: What to do in the European Union?

By |29 August 2010|

They are forced into sexual slavery, their organs are removed, they are exploited in the workplace. These are just some of the realities of the people who fall victim to human trafficking. Caritas members are currently at a meeting in Paris to urge the current French Presidency of the EU to raise awareness about the risks posed to vulnerable people by trafficking. Here are some of the pictures from an accompanying photo exhibition which tells the stories of trafficking victims.

No domestic bliss for migrants in Lebanon

By |29 August 2010|

Aneesa*, 23, arrived in Lebanon during the 2006 war with Israel. She left her home in the Philippines to become a domestic worker with a family. With battles being fought on the streets of Beirut, Aneesa was very afraid and wanted to go back home after just two weeks. It was too difficult to leave so Aneesa had to stay with the family that had been assigned to her by an agency. Very soon, her concerns about the war outside dimmed in comparison to her own personal conflict, which saw her the victim of violence and abuses at the hands of her employers. “The Mister slapped me and even touched me. He wanted to find out if I was a virgin and single. I begged him not to touch me, but he was very strong and I was frightened,” said Aneesa. As time passed, the list of abuses grew longer. Aneesa was hit, [...]

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