Santiago (Agenzia Fides) - The Jesuit refugee service (JRS) in Chile, expresses concern about the complex situation on the northern border of Chile and in particular in the cities of Colchane and Huara, where there are large numbers of migrants, who entered illegally. "The situation that the Tarapacá area and region is facing today is not new, but has worsened considerably due to the health crisis associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. We know this thanks to our work in the region, where we tried to provide humanitarian aid in the first wave of the pandemic last year".
As the JRS National Director Waleska Ureta Cañas pointed out in the statement, "The serious political and social problems that affecting countries like Venezuela have long sparked an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, in which millions of people have been forced to migrate to save themselves or to look for a better life for their families. These people risk crossing the desert, with children and the elderly who expose themselves to the dangers of human trafficking".
"Chile must face the task and provide a response", said the JRS, "and not only keep an eye on the migration problem, but above all the humanitarian crisis, which currently also includes the health crisis". It must be recognized that "this situation is of a continental dimension" and "therefore the answer must also be continental". In the hope that this will also be an incentive to sign the World Pact on Migration, which Chile has not yet acceded to, the Jesuits point out the urgency of "working with the civilian population, joint and cross-sectoral efforts at all levels (local, provincial, regional and national) to protect the dignity and health of citizens and migrants".
Waleska Ureta Cañas concludes with these words: "As a country, we are faced with the challenge of becoming a welcoming society that is sensitized to the situations that so painfully affect the lives of so many people, a society that promotes and protects the rights of everyone who lives in our country". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 4/2/2021)