The struggle refugees face is now harder than ever amid the Covid-19 crisis, the Bishop for Migrants and Refugees has said.
Bishop Paul McAleenan acknowledged that this year’s Refugee Week had been impacted by the pandemic and was not the ordinary vibrant national festival celebrating the contribution, resilience and creativity of refugees but instead had to become a digital celebration.
“This has been a very different Refugee Week, having no opportunity for physically meeting one another has compounded so many new challenges facing our society,” he said.
Bishop McAleenan, who is lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), acknowledged that one of the ongoing problems is the struggle refugees face either in camps, in transit or in detention centres.
“What has not changed is the seeming hopelessness of those trapped in overcrowded camps, held in detention centres, making dangerous journeys across the sea or living on our streets – their struggle is now harder than ever,” he said.
“I offer my prayers and wholehearted support for all the charities and volunteers who have remained working tirelessly during this period to ensure that refugees are never forgotten or abandoned.”
The theme of Refugee Week 2020, which runs from 15th to 21st June is ‘Imagine’. The official site for the week says: ‘When things feel stuck; when the old ways of doing things are no longer working, that’s what we need to do.’
In the era of Covid-19, the call to imagine feels more important than ever.
Picture: Migrants with face masks from the Moria camp, who arrived by ship from the island of Lesbos, stand in the port of Piraeus near Athens after their arrival. (Angelos Tzortzinis/dpa/DPA/PA).