ADHRRF Paris – On January 13th, 2018, as the approach of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the French branch of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services, organized an event themed “Focus on the Displacement of Migrants” on the square before the Church of Saint-Sulpice to call on the French society to learn more of immigrants and refugees. The people present are immigrants and refugees from Afghanistan, Africa, Bengal, etc., teenagers from the Scouting team, and some Christians from The Church of Almighty God who’ve escaped to France from China. They discussed about the situations that immigrants and refugees face in France.
The event was divided into three sections including discussions, photo exhibition, and games. It was about two degree Celsius (36°F) on that day, but it did not affect the lively atmosphere and every available seat was taken. During the discussion, the staff analyzed and discussed about the reasons of immigration with everyone, such as those for economic migrants, refugees, etc. A lady said during the discussion, “The reasons are not important. What’s important is how the host country treats and differentiates them.” Some people asked about the difference between immigrants and refugees, the head of Caritas Internationalis replied: “Immigrants have the privilege to enjoy more rights, such as the right to work, etc. But not the refugees.”
Ferdous Waheed, a refugee from Bengal, came to France in 2011. In his speech he talked about how difficult his life was when he first reached France. At that time, he knew nothing. But he was fortunate that someone helped him, gave him food and clothing, and recommended him to apply for the refugee status. Later he started to follow the procedure, took his address as guarantee, went to the police office to register, etc. In the end, he obtained the residence permit. Because he received help, he chose to be a volunteer and help others in need.
An African refugee said: “People should not discriminate immigrants and countries should not close their borders to them. They do not bring bad things, they do have a lot of good things to share with everyone.”
In addition, through the questions and answers during the games section, the people present were able to know more about the daily lives and the basic human rights condition of immigrants and refugees, think about their problems, and pay close attention to their situations.
There were photos posted at the site, displaying how the association named LE CÈDRE provided aid and support to refugees.
The person in charge of the youth group of Catholic Relief Services said the event was held at areas around Paris in the previous years, but this year they chose downtown Paris for attracting more people to understand and be aware of the situations of immigrants and refugees in France.
A Christian from The Church of Almighty God said after the event: “This is a very meaningful event. Through pictures, games and other easy methods, people can visualize the problems that immigrants and refugees are facing and the situation they are in. It makes people realize and reflect on all the inequalities that are happening in the society right now. Many Christians in our Church received refusal of their asylum application. Therefore we call on more people to uphold the basic rights of immigrants and refugees, hoping all our problems will be solved effectively.”