The Columbans agree with Pope Benedict XVI who said in Caritas in Veritate (2009) that “every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance”.
Migrant workers are essential to many economies, but they are vulnerable to extreme exploitation. People around the world face difficulty providing for their families and leading dignified lives in their home country, and can fulfil a much needed role in foreign economies. But living away from home exposes them to abuse, human rights violations and discrimination. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is possible that the number of climate change refugees and migrants could reach between 25 million and one billion by the year 2050.
In Britain, Columbans support Christian groups working with refugees and asylum seekers, regularly attending, for example, the annual migrants mass in London. In London, there is a long-term Columban involvement with the issue of migrant domestic workers, aiming for a society in which the migrant and the stranger are treated with compassion. Columban Father Aodh O’Halpin helped found Kalayaan and, more recently, Justice for Domestic workers (J4DW). The latter is the largest grouping of migrant domestic workers in the UK whose members come from Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and various African countries.
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