Nations Urged to Give Legal Protection to Refugees

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2001 ( John Paul II today appealed to nations to adopt appropriate juridical measures for the legal protection of refugees.

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«I ask that all nations put into practice legal protection for these people, unfortunately extremely numerous, obliged to flee from their own countries, as well as for so-called internal refugees,» the Pope said.

The Pontiff made his appeal after praying the midday Angelus, when bidding farewell to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square. An international summit on refugees will be held in Geneva this week.

«May the common commitment put an end to the serious violations of human rights, which are at the root of these forced movements,» the Bishop of Rome stressed.

The U.N.-organized meeting in Geneva commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Status of Refugees. The convention was extended in 1967 with a protocol to all world emergencies involving refugees. A total of 140 states have adhered to the convention and/or to its protocol.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees currently must care for 21 million refugees worldwide.

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