Each person is precious: World day of migrants and refugees

Sunday, 15 January was the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Almost three quarters of people who come to the Cardinal Hume Centre for support were born overseas. Our clients are made up of 80 different nationalities. Increasingly, we are working with people who are labelled ‘migrants and refugees’.

In advance of the ‘world day’, Pope Francis has issued a powerful message, challenging the international community to welcome people forced from their country of origin, especially children.

In words echoing the phrase of our founder, Cardinal Hume, which continues to inspire us: ‘Each person matters, no human life is ever redundant’, Pope Francis says,

“Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.”

Currently the hostel for young people at the Centre counts amongst its residents those the government calls ‘UASCs’ – unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Cathy Corcoran, CEO of the Centre, explains why they are a group we feel compelled to help:

“We know it is difficult for everyone, and to a certain extent it’s new territory for us, but we are experiencing some very distressing situations in the hostel. We have scared, traumatised young people arriving with nothing – no papers and, crucially, no English – with the fear hanging over them that they may be deported at the age of eighteen. We will work with them to help them stabilise and begin to engage with us, but we also want to ensure that the systems are in place across the board to support them properly.”

  The Pope offers encouragement to those supporting refugees and migrants,

“I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help. The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer.”

Amongst the Centre’s services is a fully accredited immigration advice service which is free at the point of access and goes up to tribunal level.

You can read the whole of the Pope’s message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees here.

You can read a report of a breakfast briefing held at the Centre in July with Lord Alf Dubs about how to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children here.