SOUTH AFRICA: IMBISA Outlines Interventions for the Migrants and Refugees

By Odiwuor Opiyo

PRETORIA, FEBRUARY 25, 2022 (CISA) – “There is need for a holistic approach in addressing challenges faced by migrants and refugees in the IMBISA region,” the Inter-regional meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA) has concluded.

The workshop, promoted by IMBISA concluded this week, at a workshop held in Pretoria, South Africa called upon the church to give the laity a more active role on migration and taking the care for migrants into the catechesis of the faithful.

The meeting further resolved that, “engaging national governments and working with like-minded local and regional organisations through joint advocacy initiatives, addressing root causes, championing global responsibility, re-structuring and re-strategising, collaborating and co-creating solutions and developing strategies for international and institutional collaboration are vital in addressing the plight of this vulnerable group of migrants and refugees.”

In attendance were Bishops, Secretaries-General, Justice and Peace Coordinators and Persons responsible for Migrants and refugees drawn from eight IMBISA countries who proposed a chance of tact to alternatively highlighting the plight of refugees and migrants, their lives and experiences so that people may learn about the numerous challenges the face in different countries in the region.

The workshop concluded February 24, was promoted to reflect on Pope Francis’ Fratello Tutti to which Fr Celestine Epalanga, SJ suggested durable solutions for the migratory phenomenon in the region including, “identification and analysis of the causes that are at the origin of migratory movements; fight against social injustices and environmental crimes and Promoting resilience in communities affected by the climate crisis among other interventions.”

In his presentation Fr Rampe Hlobo SJ, noted that major causes for migration in the region include, “…violence & wars, demographic factors, economic factors, environmental / climate, education and health, political instabilities & corruption, rise in religious fundamentalism, socio-cultural factors, unemployment and xenophobia.”

Rt. Rev Jose-Luis Ponce de Leon IMC, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Manzini and a member of the IMBISA Standing Committee, reminded participants that they are all part of the IMBISA region and that their contribution in the workshop will go a long way in improving the lives of migrants and refugees in our region.

The meeting, emphasized the positivity of migration in facilitating meeting and encounters of people with different values and experiences.