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‘Donations should help migrants and local poor’ – Holy See to GFMD

Migrants plead for help from aboard a dinghy boat off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa - AP

Migrants plead for help from aboard a dinghy boat off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa - AP

28/06/2017 12:15

(Vatican Radio)  The Holy See has called for financial donations to developing countries hosting refugees and forced migrants to go equally towards supporting arriving migrants and the local poor.

It also said migrants and refugees should be both welcomed in their countries of arrival and accompanied before, during, and after their migratory journey.

Fr. Michael Czerny S.J., Undersecretary of the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, made the appeal to the Global Forum for Migration and Development (GFMD) on Wednesday.

The GFMD is a “voluntary consultative process in which governments can share their various experiences in migration and development” and seeks to “foster practical and action-oriented outcomes”. It takes place this year in Berlin, Germany on 28-30 June.

In the first of two roundtable events, Fr. Czerny said the human challenge facing migrants “requires others to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate.”

These actions, he said, must be put into place in the four phases of the migratory journey: “in their country of origin, in countries of transition, in the country of destination and integration, and possibly in returning to the country of origin.”

He gave an example of a recent visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he witnessed a migrant boat arriving.

That moment, Fr. Czerny recalled, made him realize that “Africa’s best - the youth, the talent, the courage, the hope” – was being drained from the continent and relocated to Europe.

But the exchange, he noted, did not necessarily promise “much benefit to those who had survived the dangerous journey and finally arrived on shore.”

He went on to call donor nations to follow a “50-50 principle” in which half of a donation goes to help arriving migrants, while the other half supports the local poor where those migrants are located.

“In this way, the arriving poor and the local poor would be equally eligible for much-needed assistance in terms of food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, communication, security and development. Thus so-called “emergency” funds will in fact move “beyond emergencies” if they obey the sound principle of justice, transparency and good sense of the 50-50 approach.”

Please find below the full text of Fr. Czerny’s address:

Tenth Global Forum on Migration and Development "Towards a Global Social Contract on Migration and Development"

Roundtable 2.1: Moving beyond emergencies – Creating development solutions to the mutual benefit of host and origin communities and displaced persons
Holy See Intervention of Reverend Father Michael Czerny S.J., Undersecretary, Migrants & Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development

The human community can offer an adequate response to the needs of forced migrants by paying attention to two linked sets of four dimensions. First, the full human challenge faced by migrants requires others “to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate” 1 Second, these relationships must take place while accompanying those forced to flee in the four important phases of their trajectory: in their country of origin, in countries of transition, in the country of destination and integration, and possibly in returning to the country of origin.

During the second informal thematic session at the United Nations in New York, “Addressing drivers of migration”, the Holy See held a side event entitled “Ensuring the right of all to remain in dignity, peace and security in their countries of origin” (22 May 2017). As the New York Declaration affirmed, migration must become “orderly, safe, regular and responsible” (§ 16). That is, the most important way of moving beyond emergencies and creating sustainable development solutions which meet the criteria of human dignity, is effectively to guarantee “the right to remain as prior to, as deeper and broader than, the right to migrate. It includes access to the common good, the right to live in dignity, the right to human development.” These rights are the responsibility of one’s own country and one’s own State. 2 As Pope John Paul II stated in 1988, “It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country. However this right becomes effective only if the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control.” 3 Orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration is only possible when people are really free to stay in their place of origin.

In mid-April this year, I was privileged to spend part of Holy Week and Easter on the island of Lampedusa. On Easter morning at 3:00 a.m., I went with the Parish Priest to the harbour to meet a boatload of migrants. The dramatic, deeply human moment of arrival did not seem to promise the mutual benefit of host and origin communities. On the contrary, I could not help but think. ‘Here is the arrival of Africa’s best - the youth, the talent, the courage, the hope.’ Yet, it seemed to be a moment of net loss for Africa, without necessarily promising much benefit to those who had survived the dangerous journey and finally arrived on shore.

Yet the Catholic Parish of San Gerlando in Lampedusa has discovered an important key to moving beyond the emergency towards durable solutions. For every financial donation is equally divided, half-and-half, to meet the needs of the arriving migrants and of the local poor. This is exercising a very simple, concrete and sound principle for moving beyond emergencies and creating durable development solutions.

The 50-50 principle, relatively easy to apply, brings us back to one of the key foundations of the Sustainable Development Goals: to address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries in such a way that “No one is left behind.”

Since most displaced persons remain in or near their countries of origins, and similarly the majority of asylum seekers, a permanent and generous funding facility should be established, accessible to the areas, districts or regions receiving large numbers. These are the locations that bear the maximum stress of welcoming and integrating many newcomers, and where conflicts can arise between them and the local established populations which are also very needy. In this way, the arriving poor and the local poor would be equally eligible for much-needed assistance in terms of food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, communication, security and development. Thus so-called “emergency” funds will in fact move “beyond emergencies” if they obey the sound principle of justice, transparency and good sense of the 50-50 approach.

Working towards “sustainable and integral human development” allows each person and all people “to become active agents of their own development. This includes the full integration of migrants into the economic, social, political, and cultural life of the nation, or their choice of a speedy and safe return to their homelands as circumstances permit.” 4 This should also include the ongoing integration or reintegration of the host poor and excluded into the local and national economic, social, political, and cultural life.

Addressing the Fortune and Time Global Forum in December 2016, Pope Francis expressed exactly why people want to move beyond emergencies: “Inequality between peoples continues to rise, and many communities are impacted directly by war and poverty, or the migration and displacement which flow from them. People want to make their voices heard and express their concerns and fears. They want to make their rightful contribution to their local communities and broader society, and to benefit from the resources and development too often reserved for the few.” These convictions apply to the emergencies of displacement and to the ‘emergencies’ of poverty. If we face them squarely, the Holy Father concludes, we shall “realize that we are living in a moment of hope.” 5

1 Cf. Pope Francis, Address to the International Forum on “Migration and Peace”, 21.02.2017. 2 Michael Czerny S.J., “The Right to Remain,” N.Y., 22.05.2017.

3 John Paul II, Address to the Fourth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, 9 October 1998.

4 “Ethics in Action” at the Pontifical Academy of Science, 25-26.05.2017.

5 Pope Francis, Greetings to participants of the Fortune-Time Global Forum, 3.12.2016.

28/06/2017 12:15