“ Towards a dignified return journee ”

Reflecting on our Holy Father’s global invitation addressed to Bishops’ Conferences to take decisive action in support of migrants and refugees to save their lives and protect their rights which is to be carved in the 2018 global compact;

Convinced that the global challenge of illegal migration still continues with no end in sight;

Recognising the churches concerns for migrants, displaced people, refugees and victims of human trafficking;

Responding to the Lord’s supreme commandment to love the other, the stranger as ourselves

Taking note that the church is committed to responding to the migratory experience from departure through the journey to arrival and return guided by the four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate;

RECOWA / CERAO Commission For Mission, Pontifical Mission, Migrant and Tourism declares that:

1. Whereas the church remains committed to taking decisive action in responding to the plight of migrant & refugees, she needs to consider setting a specific goal or theory of change to direct our regional advocacy drive to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate migrants and refugees

2. Although we will be actively engaged in lobbying and advocating for the approval of the global compact, the twenty action points contributed by the church largely focuses on countries of destination which invites brothers and sisters in the north and west to take the lead in the anticipated change process.

3. Even though RECOWA / CERAO recognise that irregular migration and undignified treatment of migrants and refugees as human rights abuses, the church should also advocate for the promotion of voluntary and dignified return.

4. Considering that advocacy should be informed by evidence or knowledge generation, the 20 action points as well as episcopal conferences are silent on evidence gathering and so cannot account for or estimate the number of migrants and refugees who are on the move within their jurisdictions.

Demonstrating our regional commitments to our Holy Father’s invitation to a decisive action focusing on the most relevant points to our region and national situations, we recommend the following concrete actions:

1. The church should Lobby national governments to design and roll out national awareness raising on the dangers and risks of irregular migration.
2. Episcopal conferences should identify, train and assign chaplains to the apostolate of migration
3. The church should engage relevant NGOs, Civil societies to lobby and advocate for the criminalisation of irregular migration


1. Advocate and lobby for the promulgation of national legislations and policies (which conform with international laws) to regulate migration
2. Mobilise resources to support the rolling out of migration regulatory policies at parish, diocesan, national and regional levels.
3. RECOWA / CERAO should develop an advocacy strategy, regularly interface with ECOWAS /AU to condemn or hold hostile transit countries accountable for abusing the rights of migrants or refugees.

1. The section in charge of migrants and refugees under the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development should lobby host countries for the setting up of inclusive reintegration programmes for migrants and refugees
2. Episcopal conferences should lobby national and regional infrastructures to allocate resources to support the setting up and running of reintegration programmes for migrants and refugees


1. The regional, national and diocesan Justice and Peace Commissions should add the theme of migration to their portfolios, identify, recruit, train and setup a desk on migration and refugees for the promotion of inclusion throughout the return journey.
2. Mobilise resources, set up and run integration projects to promote inclusion.


Most Rev Denis Komivi AMUZU-DZAKPAH
Bishop President of Commission

Rev Fr. Celestin IKOMBA
Secretary General of Commission

Date: -17th December 2017 Date: —————————-