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Migration: joint release from German and French bishops for the World Refugee Day

The archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Hesse, president of the Migration Commission of the German Bishops Conference, and mgr. Georges Colomb, bishop of La Rochelle, director of the pastoral service for migrants of the French Bishops Conference, issued a joint release on Pope Francis’s message for World Refugee Day 2017. According to the prelates, “Pope Francis makes us aware of the fate of those children and teenagers ‘who are three times as vulnerable’, as under age, as foreigners, and as defenceless”. The Pope draws attention to the sexually abused children, those used as slave labour, in the drug trade or in crime and who are fleeing persecution: faced with this endless abuse of children and human rights, “The Holy Father takes a clear ethical stance, because we ‘meet Jesus Christ – the Pope writes – in the younger and more vulnerable ones’ and we must do all we can to protect their dignity in a special way”. The bishops write that “the particularly high number of unaccompanied refugee children in Europe raises huge challenges, especially because many children and young people do not apply for asylum, and the real number is therefore much higher than the official one”. Mentioning the efforts made by the Churches to take in the refugees, Hesse and Colomb appreciate “the good cooperation that has developed in many areas between church, state and society”.

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