Caritas joins Pope Francis’ call for individuals, communities and world leaders to take more concrete action “to welcome, protect, promote and integrate” migrants and refugees at every stage of their journey.
The Holy Father’s message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (celebrated on 14th January 2018) cites ways in which political communities and civil society can share the responsibility for migrants and refugees on a global level.
“Caritas Internationalis wholeheartedly welcomes Pope Francis’ message, which is a powerful call to action for us all,” says Michel Roy, Caritas Internationalis secretary general.
“In the same spirit as our Share the Journey migration campaign, the message’s key points emphasise that the journey involves us all. We are all being called to go out, meet migrants, take action on a community, governmental and international level. It is only by uniting in this global journey of understanding and action that ‘we may all learn to love the other, the stranger, as ourselves’.
Pope Francis launched Caritas’ Share the Journey campaign in September 2017. The campaign, which is being promoted by Caritas organisations around the world, aims to bring migrants and refugees and communities closer together.
The Pope’s message is published as governments are preparing to adopt two Global Compacts, one on migrants and one on refugees at the UN General Assembly in 2018.
In light of this, Pope Francis writes, “I invite you to use every occasion to share this message with all political and social actors involved (or who seek to be involved) in the process which will lead to the approval of the two Global Compacts.”
Caritas encourages governments to negotiate the Global Compacts with people in mind. They should make a positive difference in the life of migrants and refugees.
Caritas reiterates the Pope’s call for opening more legal and safe channels for migration as anticipated during the Summit on Migrants and Refugees in New York in 2016. The lack of those channels increases the vulnerability of migrants and refugees to violence, abuse or even losing their lives on the journey.
Some of the key political asks in Pope Francis’ message include:
- The possibility for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally.
- The protection of under-age migrants from detention and the possibility of schooling. The right to remain and continue their schooling for young migrants when they come of age.
- The upholding of the Universal Right to Nationality.
- Clamping down on illegal and misleading job recruitment of migrants.
- Fair access to justice, health and pension plus freedom of movement and the possibility of work.
- Reintegration programmes for migrants who return.
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