AFRICA/GHANA - Church helps migrants and asylum seekers

Thursday, 22 February 2024 migrants   refugees   local churches  

Accra (Agenzia Fides) - In addition to the drama in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip, there are many other situations of displacement and people seeking refuge that deserve the attention of international institutions. This is the case of refugees from neighboring countries seeking refuge in Ghana, particularly in the Upper East Region. The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Archbishop Henryk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski, visited the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga in the region and reiterated the Catholic Church's commitment to protecting and supporting vulnerable people, regardless of their origins and religious beliefs, saying that People, including the displaced, the poor and those deemed "undesirable," are of particular concern to Pope Francis, who has repeatedly advocated for comfort and support for these people in his sermons, teachings and programs. "Of course our mission as a Catholic Church is spiritual, our goal is the salvation of the soul," said Archbishop Jagodzinski. "But as St. James writes in his letter, faith without works is dead, and we must not only proclaim love for our neighbor, but also do something for others." Today, February 22, the Apostolic Nuncio will visit the reception centers for asylum seekers in Tarikom, in the Western Bawku district, to obtain first-hand information on the situation of the refugees, who mainly come from Burkina Faso, from where they fled due to the jihadist attacks. Stephen Yakubu, Regional Minister of the Upper East Region and Chairman of the Regional Security Council, said more than 1,160 asylum seekers had been taken to reception centers and praised the Catholic Church, particularly the Navrongo-Bolgatanga diocese, for their help in dealing with the situation. The Catholic Church in Ghana supports both internal migrants and refugees from neighboring countries. The former are mainly vulnerable young migrants (mostly minors) who move from the countryside to the city, usually from north to south. A network of several religious orders and organizations is trying to help these people: the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) and the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent De Paul.
In the second case, the Church not only supports asylum seekers in Ghana who are fleeing jihadist threats in neighboring countries, but also several migrants who cross the desert in search of destinations beyond Ghana, and is committed above all to "Justice and Peace" against human trafficking. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/2/2024)