The Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) elected Christine Nathan from India as the new president. She is the first ICMC president from Asia.
She belongs to the Archdiocese of Bombay (India) and was nominated to the ICMC Council by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) Migrant Commission.
The ICMC Council has its members from the National Episcopal Conferences. The 58 members representing the Episcopal Conferences all over the world elected her on June 1 at its meeting held in Rome, said a press release issued by Father Stephen Alathara, Deputy Secretary General, CCBI.
Apart from the Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State, Bishop Giorgio Bertin O.F.M of Djibouti and Father Fabio Baggio, cs, co-undersecretary of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development attended the ICMC Council meeting in Rome.
Christine is a member of the Migrant and Labour Commission of the Archdiocese of Bombay.
She is a senior education specialist in Adult and Workers Education with experience of over 40 years.
Having a strong multi-specialty background, Christine has worked with the International Labour Organisation (ILO - UN) with governments, employers and workers.
She is a regional specialist in adult education, occupational safety and health. She has engaged herself with NGOs and Civil Society Organisations on several social issues at the national and international levels.
As a strong and devout Catholic, Christine states her vision as ‘child labour to be eradicated, laws and legislations for migrant workers, strengthen labour inspection on trafficking of children of migrant workers, poverty eradicated, decent work for workers and the families, gender equality and equity.’
She believes following this is following the path of Jesus who liberated the people from every form of exploitation.
Being an Indian woman to raises the issues of women and children, she is into trade union activities.
She holds the position in Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) a prominent Trade Union of India, as a member of HMS Working Committee, representing HMS at ILO and other UN agencies, including working on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
She is also a member of HMS Women’s Committee and member of HMS Trade Union Education Committee.
HMS is the third-largest trade-union federation in India after the All India Trade Union Congress and the Indian National Trade Union Congress. The HMS was formed by the Socialists in 1948.
As the newly elected President Christine addressed the Council saying that her association with ICMC commenced in 2016 when she was asked to attend a meeting in New Delhi, India to understand the work done by a few NGOs on different issues, including migrants and refugees as well.
From then on she attended meetings organized by ICMC in the Asian region in India, Thailand, Malaysia and Geneva.
She got further interested and involved when the ICMC took on the ILO issues of Decent Work, Future of Work, Labor after ‘Laudato Si’ (Pope Francis’ second encyclical on the environment, 2015).
Having worked with the ILO for more than 10 years, Christine was familiar with the issues and role of the tripartite constituents and stakeholders on the subject.
As the president, she assured her full support and agreed to work with the Secretary General and his team to enhance the work of the ICMC.
A lot of work has already been done so far despite several challenges faced by migrants and refugees.
She upheld the work being carried out by ICMC as multifold - in the area of refugees, the support and protection provided to children of refugees.
She focused on the fight against harassment and discrimination against refugees and migrant workers, stand for the right of migrant workers and their families, work towards permanency of employment and residency of migrant workers, and the application of international norms and standards that apply to refugees and migrant workers.
The ICMC meeting commenced on May 30 and ended on June 1 in Rome.
The new president is an assurance for Asia particularly for the Indian Church in caring for the migrants and refugees as the new president carries with her long years of working with International Organizations.
The ICMC is an international non-governmental organization working in the areas of migration and refugee assistance and advocacy. ICMC was founded in 1951, in the wake of the massive human displacement caused by the Second World War. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The ICMC Council is the policy-making body of the commission, made of representatives of Catholic Episcopal Conferences and other Catholic organizations concerned with migration and refugee issues.
The mission taken up by the ICMC is to protect and serve uprooted people, including refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced people, victims of human trafficking, and migrants— regardless of faith, race, ethnicity, or nationality. - Rani Punnasseril
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.