(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has chosen the theme for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “Minor migrants, vulnerable and voiceless.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples said that with that theme, Pope Francis “wants to focus attention on the smallest of the small.” The statement noted that children, who often arrive unaccompanied in their destination countries, “are unable to make their own voices heard” and “easily become victims of grave violations of human rights.”
The Council noted that “migration is a worldwide phenomenon,” and that all continents are “touched by this reality.” Migration, it continued, concerns not only those who leave their countries in search of jobs or a better life, but also adults and children who are fleeing “real tragedies.”
It is necessary, the Council said, to guarantee that migrants, along with their families, “enjoy the full recognition of all their rights” in the countries in which they arrive. The rights of children are a cause for special concern, as among migrants, women and children are particularly vulnerable. Children especially are often “invisible” because they lack documents or arrive in new countries without accompaniment.
The theme of this year’s Day is precisely an effort to draw attention to the needs of those who are most vulnerable.
The World Day for Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated on 15 January 2017. As is customary, Pope Francis will publish a Pontifical Message to mark the occasion.
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