Catherine McKinnell has hosted an event in Westminster to mark the contribution of CAFOD supporters who campaign for people living in poverty across the globe, in her capacity as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of CAFOD.
Around 50 of CAFOD’s ‘MP Correspondents’ (MPCs) from England and Wales attended the reception, alongside International Development Minister Lord Bates. MPCs write three to four times a year to their MPs to call for action on issues affecting disadvantaged and marginalised communities around the world. Recent examples include the negotiations taking place on UN agreements to protect refugees and migrants, which have been backed by Pope Francis.
The evening was also an opportunity for CAFOD to spotlight its Share the Journey campaign. Its partners OKUP – a community-based organisation which supports women and girl migrant workers in Bangladesh – put a face and a voice to the work CAFOD does to speak up for the rights of people on the move.
Shamsun Nahar, a migrant from Bangladesh, spoke at the event about how she was forced into slavery when she left her home to find work as a domestic worker in Kuwait:
‘I want no women to face the same experiences that I did. Here in this important meeting with MPs and other dignitaries, I am begging you to stand up, protect our rights. Stand beside us so that we are treated as human beings.’
‘It’s inspiring to see so many passionate CAFOD supporters, young and old, meeting in Parliament with their local MPs to discuss issues which really matter to them.
‘CAFOD is doing fantastic work responding to Pope Francis’ campaign to Share the Journey of refugees and migrants across the world and so I’m very proud to be able to amplify this message in Parliament.
‘It is vital that organisations like CAFOD continue to call on the UK Government to protect the rights of the poorest and most marginalised people, to respond to the needs of those in crisis situations across the world, and to ensure that the UK as a nation helps our brothers and sisters overseas who are in need of our support.’