AMERICA/UNITED STATES - The human rights of migrants and refugees must be adequately guaranteed and their human dignity respected: intervention by the Holy See Permanent Observer to the UN

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Washington (Agenzia Fides) - “We are distressed by the painful conditions of those who flee due to the long-running conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Chad, in Darfur, in Afghanistan and in numerous other regions, among which the Middle East stands out with its many problems.
In particular, the Holy See would like once again to draw the attention of the international community to the sufferings of the Iraqi refugees and displaced persons, who flee from indiscriminate attacks, from sectarian and violent acts based on political and religious convictions and on affiliation to specific social groups. This has been the most rapid and massive population displacement during the last years”. This was said by the Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations Organisations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, who addressed on November 8. The third committee of the 62nd session of the General Assembly, with reference to a report issued by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR.
“The Holy See expresses deep appreciation to the UNHCR for all its efforts in assisting the 32.9 million persons who have been entrusted to its protection this year - the Archbishop said -. In the face of a creeping fatigue and pessimism that appears now and then within the international community in the area of humanitarian assistance, this occasion seems appropriate to recall that the UNHCR is one of the essential instruments with which States and the international community as a whole honour their commitment to protect those who flee their homes for various reasons. However, such responsibility cannot be merely left to the Office of the High Commissioner. Rather, concerned States have the duty to protect those persons and sustain them with firm political will and adequate financial resources.”.
The Permanent Observer of the Holy See Santa Sede underlined that the “the challenges are many, complex and daunting”. Every day migrants and refugees try to cross borders and search of security and better living conditions and many lose their life in the attempt. “We have before us masses of peoples on the move for various causes and with varied motivations: peoples driven away from their homes by armed conflicts and persecutions, peoples fleeing from extreme poverty, peoples constrained to migrate because of environmental degradation and natural disasters.”. Archbishop Migliore stressed the urgency of an “international effort, with a view to seeking greater clarity in existing legal instruments of protection or, if need be, to establishing new ones ” the dignity and human rights of displaced persons or migrants cannot be violated nor ignored. "Their right to life, to personal security, to liberty of conscience and of religion, to non discrimination, especially of those most vulnerable like children, come before any legal or political consideration”.
The enormous humanitarian challenges of today can be faced only with concrete collaboration among nations, international organisations, non governmental organisations and civil society, the Archbishop concluded. “ Such collaboration, conducted in reciprocal trust and solidarity, can truly generate coherent and concrete answers to the cry for help of those in need of international protection”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2007 - righe 37, parole 501)