AMERICA/COSTA RICA-"We are witnesses of the great suffering of migrants," say the Bishops of North and Central America

San Jose (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of North and Central America are asking their governments to take responsibility for the legal protection of migrants. In a recent statement they claim to be "witnesses of the great suffering of migrants in our countries and regions", who often face exploitation and abuse by the authorities, employers and criminal organizations. While recognizing the sovereign right of nations to enact laws, the Bishops consider "unjust and inhumane, and therefore in need of a change, those laws that cause the separation of immigrant families, arbitrary detention and threats to life". These consequences - the text continues of which a copy was sent to Fides – is particularly reflected in the escalation of violence. The dramatic increase in kidnappings and killings of migrants in Mexico, carried out by criminal organizations, demands an urgent response. The massacre of seventy-two people took place in Tamaulipas, Mexico, in 2010, and the recent discovery of two hundred corpses in the north, are horrible tragedies that have received little attention from the authorities. Migrants who were kidnapped and then released have suffered severe trauma and have not received any support and care. "We ask our governments – underlines the document - to work together to reduce this danger to migrants and to punish those responsible".
The statement was issued after a recent regional meeting on migration, held in San José, capital of Costa Rica, which was attended by representatives of the Bishops of the United States, Mexico, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, representatives of Caritas Internationalis and some experts on emigration. The Church has long been sensitive to this phenomenon and works in an organized way in these countries which are particularly affected (see Fides 03/06/2009).
The Bishops encourage to work for the common good, creating the economic conditions which enable people to have opportunities in their countries and thus have no need to go looking for a better future in other countries. The Bishops also noted that "immigrants" are those who are looking for work, asylum or refuge, as well as victims of human trafficking.
The statement expresses the growing concern over the increase in kidnappings and killings of migrants, especially along the border between Mexico and the United States. The National Commission for Human Rights in Mexico indicates that nearly 10,000 immigrants were kidnapped between 2008 and 2009. (EC) (Agenzia Fides 07/05/2011)

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