Migrants, refugees, IDPs, victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion – Pope Francis

UNHCR/Ivor Prickett

‘Migrants, refugees, displaced persons and victims of trafficking have become emblems of exclusion,’ Pope Francis said in his message for 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees which is celebrated on September 29.

Pope Francis warned about the ills of a throw-away culture which lead to the rejection and exclusion of people seeking a better life.

The theme chosen for this year World Day of Migrants and Refugees is ‘It is not just about migrants’.

Pope Francis wants to stimulate reflection and action on migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and victims of human trafficking as part of a wider concern for all marginalised people.

“The most economically advanced societies are witnessing a growing trend towards extreme individualism which, combined with a utilitarian mentality and reinforced by the media is producing a ‘globalisation of indifference,” Pope Francis said.

The Pope remarked that in addition of their hardships, they are often looked down upon and considered the source of “all society’s ills”.

‘The attitude is an alarm bell warning of the moral decline we will face if we continue to give ground to the throw-away culture,’ Pope Francis said. He added that if the situation continues as it is, anyone who does not fall within the accepted norms of physical, mental and social well-being is at risk of marginalisation and exclusion.

Pope Francis highlighted that it is not just about ‘them’ but it is about the future of human life as a whole.

While sometimes fears are legitimate, they become an obstacle, Pope Francis said. He added that fear keeps one from encountering the Lord in another person.

The Pope reminded that through works of charity, one demonstrates their faith.

“In every political activity, in every programme, in every pastoral action we must always put the person at the centre, in his or her many aspects, including the spiritual dimension,” insists the Pope.