NAIROBI JUNE 23, 2015(CISA) – Bishop Virgilio Pante, on June 21 urged refugees in Kenya not to lose hope despite the difficulties they face every day.
The bishop who is also the Vice chairman of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers was speaking at St. John the Baptist Riruta Catholic Church in Nairobi on the occasion of the World refugee day.
The Mass was organised by the KCCB- Commission for Refugee, Migrants and Sea Farers and Jesuit Refugee Services.
“Be strong in faith and believe in God. Remember that even Jesus Christ sought refuge in Africa,” said Bishop Pante during his homily.
Bishop Pante asked the Kenyan government to allow voluntary repatriation of Somalis who wish to return home, but not to expel them by force.
He also urged the government to consider re-settling all the internally displaced persons in the country.
“It is a shame that up to now we still have internally displaced people in camps. The government needs to resettle them,” said Bishop Pante of the Catholic Diocese of Maralal.
He appealed to Kenyans to avoid tribalism and racism, and instead help refugees to have access to school and work.
“If the situation is not good in Somalia do not force them (the refugees) to go back. You have to use the right approach of prudence, love and respect for the human person,” said Bishop Pante.
The event was also attended by KCCB General Secretary Very Rev. Fr Daniel Kimutai Rono.
The Mass was attended by refugees living in Kenya from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Kenya hosts over 600,000 refugees. Out of 50 million refugees in the world, Kenya is the fourth host country with regards to the total number of refugees after Pakistan, Iran and Germany.