(Vatican Radio) The integration of migrants and refugees in host nations can and must become an opportunity for new understanding, broader horizons and greater development for everyone.
This message was at the heart of a statement released on Monday by Father Michael Czerny at the UN in New York during an Informal Thematic Session in New York to gather substantive input and recommendations to inform the Global Compact on Migration.
Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:
Father. Michael Czerny, who is the Undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees in the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development – which answers directly to Pope Francis himself - focused his intervention on the need to promote a culture in which the consequences and impacts of migration become an opportunity for “human growth, encounter and dialogue in view of the promotion of peace and fraternity among peoples.”
Pointing out that no one should ever be forced to leave his or her home due to lack of development or peace and that tragically the reasons that compel millions to go on the move today are to be found in endemic poverty, hunger, violence, inadequate work, environmental degradation, weak and corrupt institutions, Fr Czerny said that whether the effects of migration become a gain - for them, their families, their countries of destination and hopefully one day perhaps their countries of origin - depends on the extent to which they are welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated.
That gain - he continued – hinges “on whether migrants and refugees are helped to transition from objects of emergency care to dignified subjects of their own development” and are permitted to use the education, skills, ambitions, experiences and cultural wisdom they already have, as well as those that could be enhanced through further schooling and training for the development of society.
For this desired win-win to occur, he concluded, migrants must first be received and treated as human beings, with dignity and respect for their rights, and they must be protected against all forms of exploitation and from being permanently cast-away, whether socially, economically or legally.