Holy See Calls for Refugee-Friendly Policies

Says Humanitarian Aid Isn’t Enough

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GENEVA, Switzerland, MARCH 5, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is urging greater international solidarity faced to the dramatic situation endured by so many refugees.

This appeal was presented by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva, according to a report today from Vatican Radio. The archbishop was addressing the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

The Holy See representative denounced the death of 1,500 people last year as they attempted to enter Europe.

“In this context, the prelate insisted on the necessity for national and international policies, as well as legal ordinances, to have a solid base in human rights, where the right to life has first place,” the Vatican Radio report informed.

Acknowledging that every nation has the right to define its own immigration policy, Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that “the norms of international protection for refugees must be respected.”

The archbishop added that the worrying situation is not exclusive to Europe, pointing to “similar tendencies in various developed countries, or countries in development, around the world.”

“The international community should not abandon its commitment to receive and protect persecuted people who flee because they have founded fears and their lives are threatened,” he declared.

Archbishop Tomasi also mentioned the growing number of unaccompanied minors who seek asylum, saying this indicates the “desperate situation” of families.

Thus, the Holy See representative said that “it corresponds to everyone to tackle the deep causes of forced displacement,” because “a generous humanitarian response has to be accompanied by equally committed politics.”

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