Tag Archives: Fr. Cedric Prakash

PROTECT MIGRANT CHILDREN – Article by Fr. Cedric Prakash S.J.


On January 9th 2017, in an address to the members of the Diplomatic Corps from 181 countries accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis said, “children and young people are the future; it is for them that we work and build. They cannot be selfishly overlooked or forgotten…I consider it a priority to protect children, whose innocence is often violated by exploitation, clandestine and slave labour, prostitution or the abuse of adults, criminals and dealers in death.” and further, “I think of the young people affected by the brutal conflict in Syria, deprived of the joys of childhood and youth, such as the ability to play games and to attend school”. His message was loud and clear, a necessary step for security and peace everywhere, is to invest in children and particularly those who are directly affected by the numerous wars and conflicts of our time.

Pope Francis has been consistent in his focus on the painful reality of migrant children. On January 15th 2017, the Catholic Church will once again observe the ‘World Day of Migrants and Refugees’ and in a hard-hitting message for the day on ‘Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless’ Pope Francis writes, “I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. In doing so I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenseless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families”.

There are today innumerable stories on the suffering of children who are in the midst of war or are fleeing war and persecution. From Syria to Myanmar; from Congo to Colombia; from Afghanistan to Sudan – the plight of migrant children labouring long hours in sweatshops; toiling in fields; begging on streets; or just left to the vagaries of hostile environments could make the coldest hearts thaw. The dead body of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year old Syrian child, which was washed up on a beach in Turkey early in September 2015, will forever be etched in the memory and conscience of anyone who cares.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) states that, “Over half of the world’s refugees are children. Many will spend their entire childhoods away from home, sometimes separated from their families. They may have witnessed or experienced violent acts and, in exile, are at risk of abuse, neglect, violence, exploitation, trafficking or military recruitment”. Pope Francis reiterates this situation in his message also emphasizing that these children are deprived “of rights intrinsic to childhood as sanctioned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

Pope Francis calls upon the Christian community and the world at large to respond to the reality of the migrant children by working towards protection, integration and long-term solutions.

 He highlights the importance to adopt “every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrants, because these boys and girls often end up on the street abandoned to themselves and prey to unscrupulous exploiters who often transform them into the object of physical, moral and sexual violence.” He does not mince words when he says, “if more rigorous and effective action is not taken against those who profit from such abuse, we will not be able to stop the multiple forms of slavery where children are the victims”.

The integration of migrant children is also essential; to have adequate policies and also the necessary financial resources to ensure for their assistance and inclusion. All are aware of how several ‘host countries’ create all possible obstacles to deny refugee children with appropriate formal education, healthcare and even with much –needed recreational facilities.

Finally, Pope Francis makes “a heartfelt appeal that long-term solutions be sought and adopted. Since this is a complex phenomenon, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. Wars, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental imbalance and disasters, are all causes of this problem… far-sighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programmes for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, in order that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This development should promote the good of boys and girls, who are humanity’s hope”.

A visionary but strong challenge indeed! The moot point, as we observe the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, is to ask ourselves and those in power, whether enough is being done for the voiceless, vulnerable and invisible child migrant of today?  And if not, to get involved in more concerted action now!

10th January 2017 – Fr. Cedric Prakash

Fr Cedric Prakash SJ is a human rights activist. He is currently based in Lebanon, engaged with the Jesuit Refugee Service(JRS) in the Middle East on advocacy and   communications.

Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com )             

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

Advocacy & Communications

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) MENA Region

Rue de L’Universitie Saint-Joseph

Achrafieh 11002150 BEIRUT  LEBANON


The full text of the Message of Pope Francis for World Day of Migrants and Refugees (January 15th 2017) can be found on https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/migration/documents/papa-francesco_20160908_world-migrants-day-2017.html

There was a press conference at Prashant detailing various celebration organized to honor Mother Teresa in Ahmedabad.

There was a press conference at Prashant addressed by Father Cedric Prakash, Two sisters of Missionaries of Charity, Father Vinayak Jadav, Rajesh Christian and Father Ashok Vaghela. The speakers gave the details about the various celebrations to honor Mother Teresa – 1. An International Film Festival on 3rd, 4th and 5th Septemeber, A rally culminating in a civic function at Loyola School on 4th Sept evening and a function at the Mother Teresa chawlk near CNI Church, Ahmedbad on 5th Sept morning.

Gurjarvani has organized a Mother Teresa International Film Festival at St.Xavier’s Loyola HS School on 3rd 4th and 5th September.Signis India has gifted 20 international films produced on/about Mother Teresa .About 100 cities all over India will organize such events in the coming months.The screening of various films will be at the Jubilee Hall of Loyola School.The entry to the screening is free for all.The passes will be available from 1st September onward.For more details please contact Father Ashok Vaghela on 9427312342,Rajesh Christian 9426584028 and Grena Christian 9687933835.



Report, video and pictures: Ms. Grena Christian


Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ moved to Beirut after 42 years of work in human rights in Gujarat.


The Times of India


TNN – Jan 20, 2016, 08.30 AM IST


Ahmedabad: Wednesday will be the last day for human rights and peace activist Fr Cedric Prakash (65) as director of PRASHANT-the Jesuit centre for human rights – which he founded in Ahmedabad in 2001. Fr Cedric, after a 42-year stint in Gujarat, is leaving for Beirut, the largest city in Lebanon, where the middle-east crisis is an unfolding tragedy . He will work among the thousands of internally displaced people.


Since the 2002 Gujarat riots, this Jesuit activist has been a relentless critic of the then chief minister Narendra Modi, over his alleged role in the riots. Even Modi believed that the denial of the US diplomatic visa to him in March 2005 was because of Fr Cedric’s testimony in June 2002 before the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in Washington. He had spearheaded the campaign against Gujarat’s new anticonversion law The Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act 2003, which he later challenged in 2009 in the high court.


In his new mission, Fr Cedric will be coordinating the `universal mission’ of the Jesuit Refugee Fr Cedric Pr Service (JRS) for Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Sudan and Chad. His work involves ensuring that refugees are accorded the rights guaranteed by the 1951 Geneva Convention.


“Our fight here in Gujarat is not over. We will fight for the values enshrined in our Constitution and will carry on the struggle for the marginalized and victims of violence,” said Fr Cedric whose institution Prashant has been a crucible for activism.


Fr Prakash has been the recipient of several national and international awards which include the Kabir Puraskar by the President of India in 1995 for harmony , Chevalier de la Legion Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) by the French President in 2006 for human rights causes as well as the central government’s Minority Rights Award.


It was during his visit to Lebanon in July 2015 that he had finally made up his mind about Beirut. “In 1974, I was inspired by Pedro Arrupe, a Jesuit who worked among Vietnamese boat refugees. Arrupe founded the JRS.”


On his new mission to JRS Fr Prakash says, “The refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), especially in the light of ISIS today cannot be seen in isolation of powerful lobbies and other vested interests. There is very little political will. The arms and ammunition industry plays a crucial role in MENA and so do mercenaries of every hue.”

Harmony Foundation honours Shri. Sanjiv Bhatt and several others with the 5th edition of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice 2012

Harmony  Foundation

Dr. Abraham Mathai            Mahesh  Bhatt               Tushar Gandhi            Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat

President                                   Patron                          Patron                          Patron

2,  Minirose Apts, CST Road, Kalina, Santacruz East, Mumbai 400098

PRESS  RELEASE                                                                                             31st December 2012
Harmony  Foundation honours Shri. Sanjiv Bhatt and several others with the 5th edition of  the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice  2012 The Harmony Foundation on Monday, 31st  December 2012 delivered the 5th Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice to Shri.  Sanjiv Bhatt, in lieu of his accomplishment for standing against communal forces  to ensure the protection of the vulnerable and insecure minorities. Since Shri.  Sanjiv Bhatt was not able to collect the award in person on November 28 at a  specially held ceremony at Hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai, the award was handed  over in absentia. Harmony Foundation president Dr. Abraham Mathai then decided  to present the award to Shri. Bhatt in Ahmedabad Gujarat, his home state in the  presence of Fr. Cedric Prakash and Sisters from the Missionaries of  Charity.


Several other persons also received the prestigious  Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice this year for  their invaluable contribution towards social causes including Dr. Sima Samar,  Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission & former  Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan and Ms. Malala Yousafzai , student and  education activist from Pakistan who was shot at by the Taliban for speaking up  for right to education of the girl child.


While  awards were handed out to the winners in person, Shri. Sanjiv Bhatt could not  attend the ceremony and his award was handed over in absentia. It was for this  purpose that a specially organised event was scheduled in Gujarat to honour  Shri. Bhatt with the award.


“I  sincerely believe that Shri. Sanjiv Bhatt is deserving of this great honour. In  the wake of attacks by powerful and hostile forces in the State, Sanjiv Bhatt  has been consistent in standing up for the rights of others” said Fr. Cedric  Prakash, while giving away the award.


Other  recipients of this prestigious award in the past have been H.H.Dalai  Lama, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr.  Ansar Burney- Former Human Rights Minister-Pakistan & Baroness  Caroline Cox, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, UK



Dr. Abraham Mathai

President – Harmony  Foundation &

Ex Vice-Chairman,  Maharashtra Minorities Commission

Mobile : 9870061184

Mayor Eric J Kellogg’s speech honoring renowned human rights activist and Jesuit priest, Fr. Cedric Prakash, s.j.

November 19, 2012


Mayor Eric J Kellogg’s speech honoring renowned human rights activist and Jesuit priest, Fr. Cedric Prakash, s.j.
Dear Council Members and my fellow citizens,
It is my privilege to welcome you all today to this event, which symbolizes the values of our nation and the spirit of the City of Harvey. We are gathered here today to appreciate and honor a man who lives thousands of miles away, but whose heart beats for peace, justice and the wellbeing of all humanity. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming renowned human rights activist and Jesuit priest from India Fr. Cedric Prakash!


You may recall that in March of this year, our City Council passed a resolution condemning the horrific massacres in Gujarat in 2002, and expressing solidarity with the victims and survivors of that pogrom. The Gujarat pogrom is known for the killing of over 2,000 people and the displacement of over 150,000, and indeed represents one of the darkest chapters in Indian history. On the other hand, the struggle for justice in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage is a story of selfless service, of a relentless quest for peace and of undying love for humanity. Fr. Cedric Prakash is one of those rare individuals who symbolize these great qualities.


Fr. Cedric Prakash is the director of an organization called Prashant in the city of Ahmedabad, which was the epicenter of the horrendous crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in Gujarat in 2002. The organization is in the forefront of monitoring and documenting human rights violations and advocating for religious harmony. Fr. Prakash himself, as the founding director of this organization has worked tirelessly to build bridges among various groups, and to secure justice and rehabilitation for the survivors. He has also been vocal in highlighting the ongoing plight of minorities in Gujarat and other parts of India.


Fr. Prakash’s work in the field of humanitarian advocacy predates the tragic events in Gujarat. He has worked ceaselessly to bring about religious harmony in the diverse religious landscape of India. This cause, for which he has worked selflessly for several decades, has been recognized in India and abroad. In 1995, the President of India conferred him with the Kabir Puraskar, for his work in the promotion of religious harmony. In 2003, the Indian American Muslim Council presented him with the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Award for Humanitarian Work. In 2006, he was named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of the highest French civilian awards, in recognition of his commitment to the defense and the promotion of Human Rights in India. The same year, the National Minorities Commission of India also honored him with the Minorities Rights Award.


Today, we in the City of Harvey have the honor of having Fr. Cedric Prakash in our midst. As Mayor of this wonderful city, it is my privilege to pay tribute to Fr. Prakash, and the cause of justice and interfaith harmony that he and his organization symbolize.


Fr. Prakash’s work shows us that in the midst of appalling cruelty and terrible crimes against humanity, there exists compassion, selflessness and an inspiring conviction in the brotherhood of humanity. Fr. Prakash’s persistent struggle for justice is a reminder of the proverb, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkeness.


Thank you and God Bless You!





The City of Harvey, Illinois, USA





for His Struggle And Selfless

Service In The Cause Of

Justice And Human Rights In

Gujarat, India

Mayor Eric J. Kellogg

The City of Harvey

19th November 2012


Fr. Cedric Prakash accepting the award from Mayor Eric Kellogg of Harvey City

Indian Americans welcome City of Harvey’s Award presented to Father Cedric Prakash
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has welcomed the “Outstanding Achievement Award” presented on Monday, November 19th, to renowned Indian human rights activist and Jesuit priest, Father Cedric Prakash, s.j. by the City of Harvey in Illinois. The plaque presented to Fr. Prakash noted with appreciation Fr. Prakash’s “struggle and selfless service in the cause of justice and human rights in Gujarat, India.”Fr. Cedric Prakash is the director of an organization called Prashant which is dedicated to human rights, justice and peace. Prashant is based in the city of Ahmedabad, which was the epicenter of the horrendous crimes against humanity that were perpetrated in Gujarat in 2002.

Father Cedric Prakash is the recipient of several awards and honors internationally including the French “Chevalier of the Legion of Honor,” and an award by the President of India for his work in promoting human rights and religious harmony.

At a special ceremony held at the City Council Chamber to felicitate the selfless advocate of human rights and champion of peace, Mayor Kellogg paid tribute to the decades of stellar service to humanity rendered by Fr. Prakash.

In his speech, the Mayor recalled the Gujarat pogrom, in which 2,000 people were brutally massacred and over 150,000 displaced, as one of the darkest chapters in Indian history. He reminded the audience however, that “the struggle for justice in the aftermath of the Gujarat carnage is a story of selfless service, of a relentless quest for peace and of undying love for humanity.” Mayor Kellogg added that Fr. Cedric Prakash is one of those rare individuals who symbolize these great qualities.

“Fr. Prakash’s work shows us that in the midst of appalling cruelty and terrible crimes against humanity, there exists compassion, selflessness and an inspiring conviction in the brotherhood of humanity,” Mayor Kellogg stated.

“I feel truly humbled by this award from the city of Harvey,” said Fr. Cedric Prakash. “I accept it as an acknowledgement of the reality of the Gujarat Genocide of 2002, which will remain forever, a monumental tragedy in the history of India. This award is also a reminder that none of us should be quiet until the cause of justice has been met,” added Fr. Prakash.

“The decision by the City of Harvey to honor Fr. Cedric Prakash, is a reminder that our common values of justice, compassion and protection of the weak and dispossessed transcend geographical distance and citizenship of a specific country,” said Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC.

The event was attended by 2nd ward Alderman Joseph Whittington, 4th ward Aldermen Michael Bowen and 5th Ward Aldermen Donald Nesbit.

Indian-American Muslim Council (formerly Indian Muslim Council-USA) is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation. For more information please visit our new website at: http://www.iamc.com

1. France Honors Fr. Cedric Prakash With Highest Civilian Award
http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=broadcast&broadcastid=286542. Minorities Rights Award For Fr. Cedric Prakash
http://www.mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=345003. Thousands join Fr Cedric Prakash In Peace March

4. We have no orders to save you” – Report by Human Rights Watch

5. Concerned Citizens Tribunal – Gujarat 2002; An Inquiry into the Carnage in Gujarat


Indian American Muslim Council
Zafar Haq
Phone: (800) 839-7270
6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295
Morton Grove, IL 60053
phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
email: info@iamc.com