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  • Ahisha Mangot

World Migrants and Refugees Day commemorated by CBC PNGSI Migrants and Refugees Desk

Port Moresby: The Migrants and Refugees desk of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands came up with an initiative to circulate the pope’s message for the World Day for Migrants and Refugees as a way of commemorating the World Migrants and Refugees Day.

The Migrants and Refugees Desk has requested their Bishop Deputies, Bishop Joseph Durero SVD, and Bishop Francis Meli to share the Pope's message with their brother bishops to widely share to priests so that they can reflect on it during their homilies on Sunday 24th of September as a way to commemorate this significant day.

The Director for the Migrants and Refugees Desk Mr Jason Siwat. expressed that In His Holiness message for the 109 World Migrants Day, Pope Francis has also reflected on this scripture message, but he went further to beautifully sum it in a very reflective manner... that when we help others, we not only see them as "a brother or sister in difficulty, but Christ himself, who knocks at our door." And I think this is what will stick with the mission of the Migrants and Refugees Desk for CBCPNGSI, and those of us who work in this ministry, that we always see Christ in the person we serve.

Mr Jason Siwat also shared “Refugees have varying and number of pressing needs, they most of the time would come to us to help them attend to those needs, including medical emergencies, school fees, water and power supply concerns.”

He also added that the government should do more than what we see today. In fact, it has done so little to effectively and proportionately meet the needs of the refugees in PNG. “One of the biggest areas the government should invest in is to put in place a comprehensive asylum process and systems such that asylum seekers can be supported from the moment they declare themselves as asylum seekers, their applications to be processed professionally, and if found refugees, proper regularization to take place so as to give them all legal documentations they need, while supporting them to access durable solutions through employment etc. Basically, the government must put in place a support system for asylum seekers and refugees” said Mr Siwat.

“To commemorate the day, we are encouraging all citizens, particularly citizens of good will to appreciate that refugees and migrants can become equal and meaningful contributors to building our church, our society, our economy, and ultimately God's family. Becoming refugees is not a choice, rather a situation that many people are forced into” Siwat added.

He also said that one of the big goals for the CBC migrants and refugees’ desk for this year is to obtain land for the West Papuans, where they can have secured land titles to build their lives without the fear of being evicted. If they can achieve this by the end of the year it would be a milestone achievement not for their desk only but for the refugees especially.

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