Mon, Sep 25, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Taipei Catholic Church celebrates 10th annual immigrant labor day in style

By Chung Li-hua  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Foreign workers participate in a masquerade parade near the Church of St Christopher in Taipei yesterday to mark the 10th Immigrant Workers Day initiated by the Catholic Church.

PHOTO: CNA

The Taipei Catholic Church held its 10th annual immigrant labor day service yesterday.

According to staff from the Church of St Christopher, about 1,200 foreign workers participated in the outdoor mass, most were Filipino Catholics.

The Vatican's charge d'affaires to Taiwan, Monsignor Ambrose Madtha attended the celebration.

Outdoor festivities later on in the afternoon attracted a more diverse crowd. Dressed in the native costumes of the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, foreign workers paraded from the church to the nearby Taipei Art Park, performing traditional songs and dances.

The UN International Day of the Immigrant is held annually on Dec. 18. However, 10 years ago, the Taipei Catholic Church chose the last Sunday of every September to celebrate immigrants day to stay in sync with festivities in Rome.

There are more than 700,000 foreign residents in Taiwan. A third of the group are caregivers. Father Romeo Velos said foreign workers should be respected and appreciated.

Sister Wei-wei (韋薇), director of the Xinshi social services center, said that foreign workers in Taiwan often suffer exploitation and outright abuse. Her organization, which provides help to workers in crisis, receives 200 such cases per year.

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