The purpose of the meeting was to enhance the network’s commitment in Cambodia last year to the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and Pope Francis’ 20 Points of Action.
Twenty-five participants from thirteen Jesuit organisations working on migration and refugee issues from twelve countries and a representative from the Vatican met to discuss how these historic instruments can be adopted and implemented in each specific national context, and what role the network can play at the regional level in advocating for this outcome.
Participants were privileged to be joined by Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) President Fr. Antonio Moreno SJ, and JCAP Socius Fr. Eric Velandria SJ, both of whom helped discern and shape the network’s priorities.
The meeting was an opportunity to discuss common agendas, offer support across country contexts, and build strong relationships across Jesuit networks in Asia-Pacific.
A key highlight of the meeting was the media interest in the Global Compacts from Catholic media in South Korea. The Catholic Peace Broadcasting Corporation (CPBC), the official media organisation of the Catholic Church in Seoul, interviewed JCAP President Fr Tony Moreno SJ and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia Director Carolina Gottardo during the gathering.
Carolina, who was a key civil society voice in the consultations and the negotiations on the GCM, conducted a session entitled ‘The Implementation of the Global Compacts.’ In it, she reiterated the Catholic Church’s proactive role in advocating for rights-based Compacts and reminded the audience of the ways in which we can “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate” refugees, people seeking asylum, and migrants.
She argued that mixed migration is a significant challenge across Asia and the Pacific, and the fact that not many countries are signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Additional Protocol amplify the importance of the Compacts as normative frameworks for action in our region. Emerging areas of migration governance such as climate-induced migration and regular/ complementary pathways can also be addressed under the Compacts framework.
Carolina also highlighted the importance of key approaches to implementation such as ‘complementarity’ and the ‘whole-of-society approach’ and informed fellow participants of the emerging architecture of implementation for both compacts including the new UN Migration Network.
Policy and Advocacy Coordinator Nishadh Rego ran a session on ‘Advocacy in Practice’ focused on understanding and applying various advocacy and campaigning methods to different contexts. Nishadh took participants through a three-step ‘discernment’ process for choosing priorities and taking action, and shared examples of effective advocacy in JRS Australia’s work.
Another key highlight was the JCAP team’s visit to the YIUTSARI Jesuit Center for Migrant Workers. Here participants gained a better understanding of the incredible work the Centre does with warm and openness and had the opportunity to share lunch with brothers and sisters from countries such as Cambodia, Philippines, and Nepal.
YIUTSARI reminded us very much of Arrupe Place in Westmead and reiterated the idea that love, empathy, hospitality and welcome look the same everywhere.
JRS Australia are deeply thankful to the Jesuit Province of Korea, and in particular Fr. Min Kim SJ and his team for their warmth, generosity, and professionalism in hosting this productive and reinvigorating forum.