At U.N., Holy See Speaks Up for Refugees

Archbishop Migliore Calls for Financial Commitment

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NEW YORK, NOV. 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See raised its voice in defense of refugees and displaced peoples, reminding the international community that the protection of their rights calls for adequate financial support and commitment.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, made these comments Wednesday to the General Assembly’s commission on refugees.

“Although there has been a recent decline in refugees specifically,” the prelate said, “the number of people of direct concern to UNHCR has increased worldwide to some 19 million, including asylum-seekers, returnees, internally displaced persons and others at risk in the world. The scale alone of this human phenomenon merits every international attention.”

In particular, the Vatican representative emphasized that “each individual state has the responsibility to protect its populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.”

“Protection firstly includes safeguarding the people’s physical security and the full enjoyment of their rights,” he continued.

“Secondly, it includes creating a safe environment, especially for women, children, the elderly and the disabled,” said Archbishop Migliore. “The design and implementation of all prevention and response measures need to ensure in particular the protection of women and children from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence.

“Thirdly, protection means assuring adequate nutrition, a perennial problem in refugee situations. Facing the nutritional challenge also involves states granting refugees the necessary freedom of movement and residence and the right to a livelihood.”

However, he added, these objectives must be adequately funded to be adequately achieved.

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