HomeNewsVatican official urges journalists to make refugees’ aspirations ‘known to the world’

Vatican official urges journalists to make refugees’ aspirations ‘known to the world’

The prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development encouraged journalists to help “end or heal” the displacement of millions of migrants and refugees around the world.

Journalists have the responsibility to offer a  new narrative, putting our migrant siblings, together with their families, at the center, linking their sufferings and aspirations to the causes of their migration,” said Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J. 

The prelate made the statement in his keynote speech at the 2nd day of a training workshop for Catholic journalists in Kampala, Uganda in Africa on July 11. 

Cardinal Czerny said it is “important to listen to our siblings on the move since they should be protagonists of the solutions towards peace and development in their own countries”. 

He urged media workers to let the migrants and refugees “express their aspirations” and tell stories that would answer the “why” behind the crisis, and “connect with solutions that would end or heal their displacement”.

“As journalists, you are in a privileged position to listen to their cry and make their aspirations known to the world,” he said. “As a synodal Church invited to walk close to migrants and refugees.” 

Newly arrived Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) register at the Nyakabande Transit Center in Kisoro, Uganda, June 7, 2022, following deadly fights between M23 rebels, one of more than 120 armed groups roaming eastern DRC, and DRC troops. – Thousands of people living near DRC’s eastern border with Uganda continuously flee their homes following insurgents attacks sending desperate residents in troubled North Kivu province fleeing over the border into Uganda. (Photo by BADRU KATUMBA / AFP)

The Vatican official said there are some 35 million refugees who are forced to abandon their homes and cross international borders and 71 million internally displaced persons that are suffering because of famine, conflict, persecution, disasters, wars, and other crises.

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“If we listen carefully to each migrant or refugee or displaced person, we discover that their strongest desire is to go back to their place and live with decency and security. But until the causes forcing them to flee are addressed, no solution is possible,” said the prelate.

Cardinal Czerny encouraged journalists to become “contributors to the practice of good politics”, “bridge the aspirations of migrant people”, and “offer recommendations towards possible solutions to their plight”.

“By promoting the right to remain in dignity and security in one’s own  land, you are contributing to the good politics which is so badly needed,” he said. 

The week-long workshop training on “effective and efficient reporting on migrants and refugees” for Catholic journalists was organized by SIGNIS – a Catholic lay ecclesial movement in 100 countries for professionals in the communication media. 

Peter Monthienvichienchai, secretary general of SIGNIS and executive director of LiCAS.news, said SIGNIS has been promoting “solutions journalism” to provide “the bridge between different communities of culture and faith”. 

“An approach that not only tells the stories of the problems, but also possible solutions, the efforts that it took to implement those solutions, their limitations and what more can be done,” he said.

Monthienvichienchai said journalists often keep a distance from the subject or case study of their writings but “perhaps there is another way”. 

SIGNIS chose Uganda as the host of the workshop because of the country’s “commendable policy” on refugees. 

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