SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

CPLO Training for Advocacy on Behalf of Refugees and Migrants

Event start: 10:30- 12:30 2020-09-21 Event start: 14:00 - 15:30 2020-09-26


Virtual zoom conference


The Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, CPLO South Africa, has organised its annual ‘African Exposure and Training’ course (AFEXT) from the 21st to 25th of September 2020. This year for the first time, the five days training focuses on a specific theme: Advocacy on behalf of Refugees and Migrants. The course aims at episcopal conferences and Church bodies across the continent which are interested in setting up CPLOs or similar advocacy facilities in their own jurisdictions. It will be open to staff of existing and prospective African CPLOs, Justice & Peace, and Caritas structures, as well as members of Refugee Desks at the various episcopal conferences. As a result of these annual courses, there are now 13 such offices or desks in African countries, plus one at the African Union head office in Addis Ababa. 

For this event CPLO South Africa will collaborate with other organisations that specialise in work with refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and have developed advocacy skills in this area. The organisations involved are the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (SCCT), the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA), and the Jesuit Refugee Service. In addition to those mentioned, the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development will be also involved in providing an input to the training. 

The course will consist in five workshop sessions every morning from Monday to Friday, two afternoon sessions on country profile reports on the Monday and Tuesday, a potential webinar on the Wednesday and an evaluation and conclusions on the Friday afternoon. 

The Executive Director of SIHMA, Fr Filippo Ferraro, is presenting on the Friday morning a talk on Resources for Advocacy for Migrants and James Chapman, Project Manager of SIHMA, will be presenting with Rampeoane a talk on Legal Aspects of Advocacy for Migrants on the Wednesday morning.

CPLO is confident that, with the help of the specialist organisations mentioned, this course will have the potential to significantly strengthen the capacity of African CPLOs, Refugee Desks and other Church structures to promote and defend the interests of migrant populations across the continent.

Here are some of the topics for the Morning Workshop Sessions:

1. The Theology of Catholic Advocacy. Why the Church is called to speak on behalf of the voiceless; CST; Vatican II; Papal pronouncements; ethical and value-based ‘lobbying’; etc. Main presenter: Peter-John

2. The Legal and Technical Aspects of Advocacy. A rights-based approach; Constitutional possibilities; the legal route; a targeted approach; key aspects of effective advocacy. Main presenter: Mike

3. The Advocacy Needs of Migrants. The common needs/demands of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants; factors that hinder their own advocacy efforts; positive and negative attitudes among officials, legislators and native populations; xenophobia and afrophobia. Main presenter(s): Scalabrini Centre/JRS/Peter-John

4. Legal Aspects of Advocacy for Migrants. The tenuous rights and status of migrants; constitutional and legal provisions of host countries; non-refoulement and other principles; relevant international and African treaties; reliability of host countries’ judicial systems; etc. Main presenter(s): SIHMA/Legal academic unit/Refugee law expert

5. Resources for Advocacy for Migrants. Existing guidelines, handbooks & links; training courses & workshops; contact details for migrant advocacy groups; relevant papal, episcopal and ecumenical statements & documents; UNHCR and other international bodies; Migrants & Refugees Section of Vatican Dicastery; etc. Main presenters: Scalabrini Centre/SIHMA/JRS/Peter-John.


Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash



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