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Migrants, refugees ‘one human family’

The oppressed and displaced dissidents are all part of the same society, bishop reminds

Migrants, refugees ‘one human family’
Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik reporter, Seoul

April 29, 2011

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Refugees who are suffering the effects of natural disasters, tyranny or civil war, migrant workers and North Korean defectors are all “One Human Family”who live together with us, a South Korean bishop said to mark the 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which falls on May 1.

Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik, president of the Korean bishops' Committee for the Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Foreign Residents, issued a statement that included a message for the day from Pope Benedict XVI, themed “One Human Family.” The Pope asked Koreans to practise a new command of Jesus: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Father Andrew Hur Yun-jin, president of Seoul archdiocese's Pastoral Commission for Labor, said recently the message "is significant because it asked us to consider migrant people and foreigners as our brothers and sisters.”

Bishop You stressed that refugees who suffered in the wake of severe earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand and Japan, and refugees from pro-democracy protests in the Middle East and North Africa, are our neighbors too.

Discrimination against migrant workers and married immigrant women is still present in the country, he noted.

Last month, the Seoul immigration office ordered Michel Catuira, Filipino migrant workers' union leader to leave the country, even though he was a legal worker. However, the office later relented and granted a temporary stay.

The Korean Church has celebrated the world day of migrants on May 1 since 2005.

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