Church leader laments discrimination suffered by migrants and refugees

Romblon Bishop Narciso Abellana, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), lamented the widespread discrimination suffered by migrants and refugees around the world.

Bishop Narciso Abellana (CBCP image)

In a message for the observance of the 35th National Migrants Sunday and the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the bishop cited the differences in race, religion, skin color, and even gender as the major causes behind the discrimination suffered by many migrants and refugees.

“The life of a migrant is not easy, and more difficult is that of the refugee. Biases and discrimination still exist even among us who called ourselves Christians, who claim that we are Christian and we belong to the Catholic or the universal church,” said Bishop Abellana over Radio Veritas.

The prelate urged the faithful to be more compassionate to others and never discriminate, particularly migrants, and refugees and to live out the example of Christ who cares for the least and the needy like the refugees who are suffering from violence injustice, and hunger.

“We are reminded to be inclusive not only in the use of language but more importantly in our human relationship,” he added.

“Many times, we are afraid of diversity; however, diversity can enrich us thus diversity should even be welcomed,” stressed Bishop Abellana.

The United Nations Refugee Agency said, around 82 million individuals are forced to leave their countries because of hunger, poverty, and violence.

In the country, the Church’s migrants’ ministry helps to assist the needs of the more than 10 million overseas Filipino workers.