Around the globe, conflict is escalating at a frightening rate. Those left most vulnerable are the children.
Here in the U.S., we have an escalating humanitarian crisis at our border with Mexico. Increasing numbers of women and children from various Central American countries are fleeing violence and insecurity. Every day, more and more mothers are putting their lives – and the lives of their children – on the line by crossing the Rio Grande seeking refuge in the U.S.
At the Save the Children / Catholic Charities Child-Friendly Space at Sacred Health Community Center in McAllen, Texas, families make a quick stop to get food, clothes and items for personal hygiene. I sat with these women and listened to their stories. I wanted to know why they were running away from their homes, and why they would risk their family’s life on an uncertain future. I heard stories about poverty, extreme violence and other atrocities these families endured every day in their home communities. One mother simply told me, “I ran to protect my babies. I had no other choice.”
As I write this, Save the Children is responding to a number of humanitarian emergencies around the world, many of which have stemmed from armed conflict or political issues.
In any crisis, children are always the most vulnerable, and their voices are rarely heard. We know children don’t choose sides when it comes to political conflict or religious debate. Eglantyne Jebb, the founder of Save the Children, said this: “I have never met a political child.”
Here’s what I need to say: Debates about immigration and other issues will–and should–continue. But in the midst of often-heated and lengthy political battles, we cannot allow children to be caught in the cross fire.
[Joaquin Duato, Worldwide Chairman of Pharmaceuticals for Johnson and Johnson, writing in Huffington Post]