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Tuesday, November 18, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2003 (VIS) - This morning, Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao inaugurated the fifth World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, which is taking place in Rome from November 17 to 22 and whose theme is, 'Starting afresh from Christ. Towards a renewed pastoral care of migrants and refugees.' Two-hundred and ninety seven people from ninety-nine countries are participating in the congress.

The president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples referred to the 'urgency to work for a new world which is more fraternal, welcoming in solidarity, freer and more peaceful.'

Gabriella Rodriguez, who works in the office of the United Nations for Human Rights of Migrants, spoke about 'The present situation of international migrants.' The media, she said, 'have offered a distorted vision of the effects of migration, creating reactions which have negatively affected migrants.' After pointing out the dangers people who are forced to emigrate must confront, from 'illicit human trafficking, to the sexual exploitation of women and children, to forced labor,' Rodriguez indicated that it is fundamental 'to promote the use of mechanisms of information and public censure; to sensitize the media in order to eliminate the use of racist and xenophobic stereotypes.'

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, U.S.A., while speaking about people on the move, stressed that the 'Church must defend and bear witness to common fraternity. The present situation in the world has showed us the sad reality of millions of persons who have lost their right, or the opportunity to exercise their right, to stay in their own home.'

In the afternoon, a round table is scheduled in which representatives from the five continents will speak about their respective situations and consequent challenges.
Keys: ;MIGRANTS; REFUGEES;...;HAMAO ;VIS;20031118;Word: 300;

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