A group of five CAFOD volunteers from across England and Wales have visited Downing Street, to represent the thousands of Catholics across England and Wales who signed a petition asking that the rights of refugees and migrants are put at the heart of agreements being made at the UN General Assembly in September in New York.
The delegation of campaigners delivered the petition to Number 10 on 6 September 2018 as part of the Share the Journey campaign, launched by Pope Francis in September 2017, ahead of the UN summit being held later this month. The campaign is being led by Catholic charities CAFOD and Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN).
As well as signing the petition, over 40,000 supporters have walked more than 100,000 miles to stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants facing the challenges of fleeing their homes due to persecution, war and natural disaster. Over forty Catholic communities have applied to welcome refugees through the Community Sponsorship scheme and more are coming forward.
Eleanor Bowman, one of the campaigners who handed over the petition, said: “I hope that the government will take action on our petition. It’s important to care about issues as the refugee crisis. We are all human. This crisis is impacting us all throughout society and we should be treating our brothers and sisters equally, acting on the welcome that we are called to have.”
CAFOD’s Head of Campaigns, Daniel Hale, added: “The enormous support from the Catholic community for the UK government to ask world leaders to develop a united, humane and dignified response to the refugee and migrant crisis, shows it is time for action. So, we are calling on the UK Government to take a lead and ensure that human dignity is at the heart of the global compact on refugees signed later this month at the United Nations General Assembly. It is important to remember that most people on the move are from poor countries, and most seek safety in nearby poor countries or within their own country’s borders. The tens of thousands who have taken part in the Share the Journey campaign illustrate an overwhelming response to Pope Francis’s call for us to embrace those forced from their homes by persecution and poverty.”