Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Migrants are tomorrow’s citizens and leaders either in their host countries or in their home countries"

ARCHBISHOP BERHANEYESUS DEMEREW SOURAPHIEL C.M. OF ADDIS ABEBA, ETHIOPIA, PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL OF THE ETHIOPIAN CHURCH, AND PRESIDENT OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF ETHIOPIA AND ERITREA said during the Fifth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held on October 13 in the Vatican’s Synod Hall:
“Ethiopia has about eighty million inhabitants, half of whom are below the age of twenty-five. The great challenge which the country faces is poverty and its consequences, such as unemployment. Many young people, aspiring to escape poverty, attempt to emigrate, by any means. Those who emigrate to the Middle East are mostly young women who go legally or illegally to seek employment as domestic workers because most of them lack professional training. In order, to facilitate their journey, the Christians change their Christian names to Muslim names, and dress as Muslims so that their visas can be processed easily. In this way, Christians are indirectly forced to deny their Christian roots and heritage. … Even if there are exceptions where workers are treated well and with kindness, the great majority suffer exploitation and abuse. … It would seem that Christians who die in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to be buried there; their bodies are flown to Ethiopia for burial. Could the Saudi authorities be requested to allocate a cemetery for Christians in Saudi Arabia? Many Ethiopians turn to the Catholic Churches of the Middle East for assistance and counselling. I would like to thank the Catholic hierarchies in the Middle East who are doing their best to assist victims of abuse and exploitation. We are grateful, for example, for the great work of Caritas Lebanon. Modern migration is looked upon as ‘modern slavery’. But let us remember that today’s migrants are tomorrow’s citizens and leaders either in their host countries or in their home countries”.

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