In a statement from Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, the Holy See officials recalled that education is one of the primary tools for confronting the phenomenon of migration.
Education, the Holy See delegation affirmed, not only is an instrument to overcome the negative causes of migration, but also key for remedying the “suspicion, indifference and prejudices experienced by many migrants.”
Here is the statement from Archbishop Jurkovič at the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council.
Item 3 – Special Rapporteur on Migrants.
The Delegation of the Holy See follows migration issues with particular attention and wishes to congratulate the Special Rapporteur on his Report. Migration is a global phenomenon and in 2015 the number of migrants surpassed 244 million persons, a 41 percent increase compared to 2000.
These movements are often the consequence of social and economic inequalities, violent conflicts, natural disasters and also religious persecutions. The vast majority of migrants in the world are migrant workers, in search of a possibility to improve their economic and social condition. We are all aware of the recent economic crisis and of its consequences that, at times, result in the loss of a “human perspective” in the midst of upheavals.
While understanding the need for national policies to address large flows of migrants and refugees, my Delegation wishes to note the repeated appeals addressed by Pope Francis to world leaders on behalf of so many brothers and sisters who are forced to flee in search of a safe and decent life. These persons should not be treated solely as a threat to national stability and thus left to the exploitation of unscrupulous people or treated as mere commodities or products, without any real concern for their rights and aspirations. Sustainable Development Goal 16 of the 2030 Development Agenda aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, to provide access to justice for all and to build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” This objective can be achieved mainly through dialogue and mutual understanding.
Furthermore, the considerable and positive contribution of migrants to the receiving countries must be recognized and affirmed. Their work represents a solution for the demographic problem of ageing host populations. They contribute by building bridges among cultures and fostering the well-being and the development of their countries of origin through the remittances they send back to their families and through the new skills that they acquire. Their positive contribution is most evident when they become fully integrated into their new host society and thus become aware that a better future may be built together. For this reason, dialogue and mutual acceptance represent indispensable elements for successful integration. Through the adoption of a human rights based approach, migrants become agents of cultural and economic development. Moreover, the acceptance of fundamental human rights is necessary for the development of mutual enrichment.
Consistent policies are essential to ensuring safe and orderly migration and respect for the rights of migrants. Irregular migration, trafficking in persons, and detention of unaccompanied minors are some of the most common problems related to present-day migration trends. Moreover, too many migrants continue to work and live in precarious, dangerous, and indecent conditions. They are often marginalized and subject to discrimination and negative stereotyping, and are not allowed access to social, educational and health care services.
It is important to overcome the negative “push” factors of migration and to implement and execute policies and projects which aim to limit the adverse impacts of migration and to give special protection to the most vulnerable categories: children, women and elderly persons. People should not be forced to emigrate but rather be free to do so under planned and voluntary conditions. States and International Organizations, together with civil society, have the responsibility to elaborate and implement migration policies, strategies and agreements to make the experience of migration more humane and to guarantee that the phenomenon has positive consequences for all.
Education remains one of the most effective instruments to overcome the negative causes of migration and to remedy the suspicion, indifference and prejudices experienced by many migrants. There is an urgent need for more knowledge-sharing to ensure cultural and social integration. Education can play a vital role in this process and in the production of national and international policies that promote a sense of responsibility and solidarity on which each society should be based. Furthermore, migrants are the resourceful agents within the migration process: they must understand their rights, and be empowered to make conscious decisions in this regard.
I would like to conclude by citing Pope Francis: “We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to. Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building ‘a culture which privileges dialogue as a form of encounter’ and to create ‘a means for building consensus and agreement while seeking the goal of a just, responsive and inclusive society’ (Evangelium Gaudium, 239).”
Thank you Mr. President.