103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees

More and more children are crossing borders on their own.

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Lagadikia, Greece - August 25, 2016: Children sit on stairs in the refugee camp of Lagadikia, some 40km North of Thessaloniki, during the visit of UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi. iStock. Used under licence

Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless”, for the 103rd World Day of Migrants and Refugees, commemorated in Australia on the last Sunday of August 2017, part of Migrant and Refugee week (21-27 August).

According to figures released by the UNICEF twelve months ago, across the globe nearly 50 million children have been uprooted – 28 million of them driven from their homes by conflicts not of their making, and millions more migrating in the hope of finding a better, safer life, including 10 million child refugees; 1 million asylum-seekers whose refugee status has not yet been determined; and an estimated 17 million children displaced within their own countries – children in dire need of humanitarian assistance and access to critical services.

More and more children are crossing borders on their own. In 2015, over 100,000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in 78 countries – triple the number in 2014. Unaccompanied children are among those at the highest risk of exploitation and abuse, including by smugglers and raffickers. UNICEF's May 2017 report reveals the number of refugee and migrant children travelling alone has reached a record high.The number of unaccompanied children has increased by nearly five times since 2010 to at least three hundred thousand.

On Migrant and Refugee Sunday, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, who himself arrived in Australia as a "boat person" will launch a year-long Diocesan campaign “Walking with Refugees and People Seeking Protection”. The aim of the Journey is to galvanise a Diocesan-wide, faith-filled urge to bring about a community and political culture that values fair and compassionate treatment of people seeking refuge and protection in Australia.

Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation welcome the opportunity to join this journey.


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