Economic Crisis Increases Suffering of Refugees

The global economic crisis is having a doubly negative effect on migrants and refugees, as low-wage jobs disappear and resentment of foreigners grows, says the head of Caritas Internationalis. "As the world sinks deeper into economic recession, borders are closing, jobs are disappearing and life is becoming harder for refugees and migrants everywhere," said Lesley-Anne Knight, secretary-general of the umbrella organization of Catholic charities. Knight and Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, international director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, spoke in Rome on May 20 at the opening of an exhibition of photographs of refugees titled "Respecting Strangers: Replacing Fear With Welcome."

Migrants and refugees tend to be the first to lose their jobs, "not only because their status is called into question, but also because they are employed in sectors particularly affected by the economic crisis," she said. Compounding their economic difficulties, migrants face great social difficulties as well because incidents of discrimination, including violent attacks, tend to increase when people are struggling financially or are out of work, Knight said.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Pope Francis shakes hands with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, in Cairo, April 28 (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia).
The pope emphasized that Egypt, because of its history and geographical position, “occupies a unique role in the Middle East.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 28, 2017
Pope Francis embraces Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar University, at a conference on international peace in Cairo April 28. The pope was making a two-day visit to Egypt. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“What is needed are peacemakers, not fomenters of conflict; firefighters not arsonists; preachers of reconciliation and not instigators of destruction.”
Gerard O'ConnellApril 28, 2017
President Trump’s budget provides a boost to “our common defense” at the price of cutting support for “the general welfare.”
Leon E. PanettaApril 28, 2017
 04.19.2017 Pope Francis greets a young choir member during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 19. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
The pope practices a 'very pastorally engaged moral theology.'
Sean Salai, S.J.April 28, 2017