Pope Francis offers 4 points to guide the world's response to refugees

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 22, 2017

Francis' politically pointed message was made in view of the Catholic Church's 2018 world refugee day, celebrated January 14.

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees is an annual Vatican event, instituted by Pope St Pius X in 1914. Before his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI also used the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to call for such a global dialogue.

The pope reiterated his message from February at an worldwide forum on migration and peace that "our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate" migrants and refugees.

He demanded a simplified process of granting humanitarian and temporary visas and rejected arbitrary and collective expulsions as "unsuitable". Now that the consultation phase for these compacts is underway, the pope is using this year's message to go into more detail about what he hopes to see included in the agreements.

Pope Francis urged political leaders on Monday to defend migrants, saying their safety should take precedence over national security concerns and that they should not be subjected to collective deportations.

The pope asked that migrants' rights be protected beginning in their country of origin and continuing into the countries that welcome them. The countries of origin, the pope said, should provide reliable information before departure and protection from recruiting practices that could lead to human trafficking or unfair labor conditions. He insisted that children should not be detained due to their migratory status and that they should be guaranteed the right to remain when they come of age.

"The universal right to a nationality should be recognised and duly certified for all children at birth", the pope said.

Calling for "broader options for migrants and refugees to enter destination countries safely and legally", he said the human rights and dignity of all migrants had to be respected regardless of their legal status.

He called for policies that support family reunification, employment opportunities and accelerated citizenship procedures to improve migrants' abilities to integrate.

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