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World Day of Migrants and Refugees - Protecting the Rights of All
January 17, 2010 marks the 96th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. In a statement prepared for the day, Pope Benedict XVI said:
This year's theme – “Minor migrants and refugees” – touches an aspect that Christians view with great attention, remembering the warning of Christ who at the Last Judgment will consider as directed to himself everything that has been done or denied “to one of the least of these” (cf. Mt 25:40, 45). And how can one fail to consider migrant and refugee minors as also being among the “least”? As a child, Jesus himself experienced migration for, as the Gospel recounts, in order to flee the threats of Herod, he had to seek refuge in Egypt together with Joseph and Mary (cf. Mt 2:14)
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that the interests of children should always be protected and the fundamental human rights of children are equal to those of adults. We must take particular care to meet the needs of children. Like all people, migrant refugee children have inherent dignity.
In his statement, the Pope also says:
In this way also hospitality and solidarity to strangers, especially if they are children, become a proclamation of the Gospel of solidarity. The Church proclaims this when she opens her arms and strives to have the rights of migrants and refugees respected, moving the leaders of Nations, and those in charge of international organizations and institutions to promote opportune initiatives for their support.
CLINIC has answered this call to action through our National Pro Bono Project for Children. This new project seeks to match unaccompanied children released from federal custody with pro bono legal services providers. Unaccompanied children are among the world’s most vulnerable migrants and those in removal proceedings face tremendous obstacles. Most of these children lack the resources to hire an attorney, and many must navigate complex immigration proceedings without legal representation.
This day also falls ri ght before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is only fitting that we remember Dr. King’s legacy of fighting for human rights by doing all that we can to ensure that migrant minors and refugees are afforded the opportunities they need to thrive and succeed.
If you know of a child that needs legal services or would benefit from participation in CLINIC's National Pro Bono Project for Children, please complete our referral form. If you do not have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, you can complete either the Word or PDF version of the referral form and send to CLINIC: By Email:email@example.com By Fax: Attn: National Pro Bono Project for Children, Project Coordinator at 202-635-2649.
If you are interested in volunteering, click here.
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