Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Ababa urged the recent Synod on Africa to take concrete action against human trafficking. “I hope this Synod on Africa shall study the root causes of human trafficking, internally displaced persons, abused domestic workers (especially women in the Middle East), refugees and migrants, especially the African boat migrants and asylum seekers and come up with concrete positions and proposals to show to the world that African lives are sacred and not cheap, as they seem to be presented and seen in many media channels.
As it is well known, the African Union (AU) has its headquarters in Addis Ababa, where it was founded. The AU is the forum of political leadership in Africa. It is useful to know that almost 50 percent of the members of this AU are members of the Catholic Church. So far the Apostolic Nuncio in Ethiopia has been invited to attend the general assemblies of the AU whenever they take place in Addis Ababa as an observer. It is my hope that the Holy See appoints a permanent representative to the AU who should attend all the meetings whenever they take place and who could keep in personal contact with the Catholic members of that important institution.
This special representative preferably would have diplomatic credentials comparable to the ones of an Apostolic Nuncio. He would be appointed to be fully committed and available for his mission in such a way that he may attend the meetings and meet the persons who have key influence in the decision making process.
The same representative at the AU is needed by a representative of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), at least on an observer level, so that the Catholic Church in Africa has a voice in the AU and becomes an encouragement to its lay Catholic faithful working in the AU.
On our side, we, as the local Church of Ethiopia, commit ourselves to do our best to welcome such special representatives from the Holy See or from SECAM and, in case, they want to reside in Addis Ababa to facilitate their work and to collaborate with their mission. I am sure that the African Union would be willing to accept such persons and the Catholic Lay members of that body would feel particularly supported by the Catholic Church in their mission.”
(Catholic Information Service for Africa 9th October 2009)