Legal Concept of Asylum Is Slipping, Says Holy See

Raises Its Voice at U.N. for Refugees’ Rights

NEW YORK, NOV. 9, 2006 ( The Holy See spoke up at the United Nations in favor of refugees and the displaced, and lamented that some countries don’t acknowledged the internationally recognized rights of these people.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, on Wednesday addressed the commission studying the “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Questions Relating to Refugees, Returnees and Displaced Persons and Humanitarian Questions.”

“Unfortunately,” the archbishop said, “a certain deterioration of the legal concept of asylum appears to be taking place as some states give preference to national legislation or bilateral agreements over international refugee law.”

“Moreover, access to asylum has also become more difficult because of the phenomenon of mixed flows,” the prelate continued. “And some countries do not acknowledge or uphold internationally established rights in their domestic legislation, such as freedom of movement, the right to work, and the recognition of qualifications.”

According to the Holy See representative, “Each person should be able to exercise the right to protection, guaranteed or restored, as already found in many international agreements.”

Archbishop Migliore added: “A lasting solution to the problem of refugees and internally displaced persons will affect not only them but, by extension, will also have an impact upon the whole human family. These norms for the protection of those in need should be applied at national, regional and international levels, as applicable.

“The rights and dignity of our suffering fellow human beings are at stake and, as such, they deserve no less than our highest consideration and our best efforts for their protection.”