Bishop urges compassion for Afghan refugees

June 24, 2023 - 2:23 PM
A UNICEF worker helps an internally displaced girl put on a face mask at a makeshift camp, amid the pandemic, in Jalalabad, Afghanistan June 22, 2020. (Reuters/Parwiz/File Photo)

A Catholic bishop has urged the Philippines to demonstrate compassion by granting temporary stay to refugees from troubled Afghanistan.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, a prominent advocate for migrant rights, emphasized that as a signatory to the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention, the country should open its doors to these individuals in need.

“Our commitment as UN signatory is to help and accommodate migrants and refugees,” said Santos, vice chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

In October, the United States made a request to the Southeast Asian nation to provide temporary shelter to approximately 50,000 refugees who have fled from the recently reinstated Taliban government in Afghanistan.

These Afghan individuals are said to be awaiting resettlement in the US.

Bishop Ruperto Santos, who also serves as the episcopal promoter of Stella Maris-Philippines, said that it is the moral obligation of the Philippines, as a Catholic nation, to extend assistance to the refugee

“As a Catholic country, it is considered acts of charity and compassion to assist and to welcome them,” the prelate added.

“The Church (will) cooperate and collaborate with our government to promote, protect, and preserve human lives,” he also said.