Migrants Are People, Not Money-makers

Holy See Addresses European Security Group

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ROME, DEC. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official is reminding an international security group that migrants are people, not just an economic or political force.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Vatican relations with states, said this earlier this month when he addressed the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Holy See representative touched on various themes, saying that «a common conversion to peace, a peace based on solid pillars of love, justice, truth and liberty» is increasingly urgent.

The prelate praised the «Corfu Process,» launched in June at a informal meeting of OSCE foreign ministers on the Greek island of Corfu. It aims to tackle European security challenges with concrete steps to restore confidence, L’Osservatore Romano reported.

He also expressed the Holy See’s appreciation for initiatives undertaken by the Greek presidency to reinforce the mechanisms to prevent conflicts and for post-conflict rehabilitation.

However, he pointed out, the important steps taken to control armaments cannot eclipse the «forgotten wars» and the «prolonged hostilities» that continue to cause deaths and damages, «often in the silence and indifference of considerable sectors of public opinion.»

«Prolonged or frozen conflicts lead only to prolonging the suffering of civilians, especially when the conflict is extended with economic sanctions or when the military objectives have been exhausted,» Archbishop Mamberti said.

He urged the OSCE to take on a serious commitment to resolve prolonged conflicts.

However, the prelate asserted, «there will be no peace on earth if the oppression of peoples, injustices and economic inequalities, which still exist, continue to endure.»


Regarding the OSCE’s agenda for upcoming years, Archbishop Mamberti underlined the importance of the relationship between migratory policies and security.

Noting that the planet has some 200 million migrants, he lamented that host countries often fail to receive and integrate immigrants because of negative attitudes and stereotypes in society, sometimes promoted by the media.

There is a need to «pay greater attention to migrants themselves, and not only to their economic role as a work force and as permanent settlers,» the archbishop proposed. And he said there should be reinforcement of «the whole system of protection and human rights, which cannot be relegated to a secondary role of support.»

Religious liberty

Archbishop Mamberti also took up the issue of religious liberty, noting an increase of religious intolerance.

He reported that Christians are the group suffering most discrimination, «given that more than 200 million [Christians] of different confessions could find themselves in a situation of difficulty because of the legal and cultural structures that lead to their being discriminated.»

In the light of all this, the archbishop invited his listeners to consider religious communities not «as sources of social or cultural conflicts, but as an important factor in the promotion of peace, reciprocal understanding and common human values.»

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