World Vision backs Pope’s message ahead of World Day of Migrants and Refugees

International children’s charity World Vision UK has echoed the Pope’s call for world leaders to accept more child refugees fleeing conflicts and persecution across the world. 

Sunday (15 January 2017) is World Day of Migrants and Refugees and Pope Francis – the global head of the Catholic Church – will mark the occasion under the theme "Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless". In his message (see here), the Pope is expected to “ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves."

World Vision UK has consistently called on the British government and local councils to “pull out all the stops” in finding homes for unaccompanied refugee children. The charity's call comes as an MPs committee yesterday (Friday, 13 January 2017) said a UK target to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees by May 2020 remains a significant challenge. Up to September 2016, only 4,400 had been resettled.

Tim Pilkington, Chief Executive of World Vision UK, said: "Children now make up more than half of the world’s refugees, despite the fact they account for less than a third of the global population. The dreadful scenes being witnessed in the Mediterranean, across Europe and many other conflict-affected places around the world, are a symptom of this wider global crisis.

“We are in sync with the Pope’s call to focus attention on the smallest of the small. Many of the child refugees around us today often arrive unaccompanied in various destination countries; and are unable to make their own voices heard thus easily become victims of grave violations of human rights. We urge the UK government and the world at large to offer more dignified welcomes to child refugees. We know that if young refugees are accepted and protected today and are accorded a chance to learn and grow, they can be a source of stability and economic progress in the future,” Pilkington added.

 Over 65 million people – almost the population of the UK - have been forced to flee their homes due to conflicts, persecution and other disasters around the world. Experts say it’s poorer countries that are looking after the vast majority of the world’s refugees. The UN’s Refugee Agency estimates that nearly nine in ten of the world’s refugees are sheltered by developing countries.

On Sunday, the Pope is expected to quote the scriptures in his message and say: “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). 

You can help protect a child refugee by donating to World Vision’s Syrian Crisis appeal today.

For more information please contact: 

Henry Makiwa | Media Manager Strategy 

Phone: +44 1908244446| Mobile +44 (0)7469 154268 | 

E-mail: henry.makiwa@worldvision.org.uk