AFRICA - The Jesuits: focus on governance, peace, human rights

Wednesday, 30 May 2018 peace   human rights   politics   development   emigration   civil society  


Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - Political governance and human rights, sustainable development, peace, equitable sharing of natural resources, climate change and sustainable food: these are the points on which Jesuit social centers will commit themselves over the next five years in Africa. The strategic plan was outlined in a meeting that the heads of the centers held at the beginning of May in Nairobi (Kenya).
Social Centers are one of the tools with which the Society of Jesus carries out its social apostolate in favor of the excluded, marginalized and exploited in prisons, refugee camps, slums, suburbs, but also in schools. In Africa, Jesuits have eleven social centers in Benin, Chad, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, DR Congo (one in Kinshasa and one in Lumubashi), South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Economy is at the center of the debate in Nairobi. "Africa - explained Father François Kabore of the Center de Recherche et d'Action Pour la Paix - is rich in raw materials, but the real wealth is not in extraction, but in transformation. It is sad that resources in Africa are taken away from the continent, which translates into an economic loss for Africa". Not only that, but the current economic system creates serious social inequalities. "We are experiencing increasing inequality and over-exploitation of resources", said Ather Jörg Alt from the Jesuit mission office in Nuremberg, Germany. "Politics must strengthen taxation and the instruments connected to it to push towards a systemic change from the current neo-liberal paradigm towards a society based on the common good of all", he adds.
A theme, the latter, which is linked to that of development. "Development - said Father Toussaint Kafarhire of the Institute for Studies on Peace and International Relations - is not a goal, but a means to reach an end: Africans need to reshape their mentality by working to achieve the goals of sustainable development of the United Nations and not pursue Western models".
Education, both official and informal, can play an important role here. For many years, the Social Centers have been involved in projects that, help them create micro-enterprises that offer opportunities for employment, development and, above all, are given the opportunity not to emigrate. "Emigration is one of the major problems, many migrants face discrimination and xenophobia which is a serious violation of human rights. The Society of Jesus in Africa has a very important role to play in ensuring respect for the dignity and rights of migrants. The Jesuits must work to ensure that countries and communities are hospitable to migrants", said South African Jesuit, Father Rampe Hlobo.
The strategic plan will now be discussed in the individual social centers and Provinces and will be examined during the meeting of the African Jesuit social Apostolate to be held in August in Lusaka (Zambia). (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 30/5/2018)