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Holy See Urges Consideration for Refugee Rights

Holy See Urges Consideration for Refugee Rights
Says It’s Best Way to Aid Displaced Peoples

GENEVA, OCT. 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).-Rethinking the central place of human
rights for refugees is an approach that opens new commitment and leads to
practical measures, the Holy See told a meeting of the United Nations.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, permanent observer of the Holy See to the Office
of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, said this to
the 58th session of the executive committee of the agency Oct. 2.

“Forcibly displaced people continue to be subjected to human rights
violations,” Archbishop Tomasi explained. “Regrettably, the number of
refugees has increased again to some 10 million persons and internally
displaced people to well over 24 million.

“Millions of normal, ordinary human beings are thrust into situations of
incredible humiliation and suffering.

“An approach that opens to new commitments and that leads to practical
measures of assistance and protection is based on rethinking the central
place that human dignity and human rights should hold in refugee and asylum
policies.”

“The respect of the rights of all displaced persons leads to a
comprehensive response and protection so that a globalization of protection
results from a globalization of rights,” the Italian apostolic nuncio said.

Twofold approach

The archbishop explained: “The perspective of human rights emanating from
the dignity of every person offers a twofold advantage.

“First, a human rights approach means that the duty to protect reaches
beyond the narrow national interest of single states and beyond the fear
that it may be a disguised form of domination.

“Second, the human right to protection means that governments and other
social groups have a duty not to drive people from their homes by denying
them the possibility to survive there but to respond instead to the
challenges of protection in a timely and effective way.”

“A comprehensive human rights perspective can indicate appropriate criteria
and means that would apply from the moment a person is forced to leave home
and to apply for asylum to the moment a durable solution is reached,”
affirmed the 66-year-old prelate.

“The prevention of conflicts, which always are a source of human rights
violations and of massive forced displacement, must become the main road in
the efforts of the international community to eradicate the tragedy of
forced displacement,” he added.

Human solidarity

Archbishop Tomasi explained: “[W]elcoming refugees and giving them
hospitality is, for every one, a vital gesture of human solidarity in order
to help them feel less isolated by intolerance and disinterest.

“Benedict XVI constantly appeals that these our brothers and sisters, so
badly tested by suffering, should be guaranteed asylum and the recognition
of their rights, and that public authorities should offer them protection
in such delicate situations of need.”

“In conclusion,” Archbishop Tomasi said, “addressing the problem of
uprooted people from their own perspective, and that of their dignity and
rights, will lead the international community to search for more
comprehensive and humane solutions and to find the motivation for
undertaking bold steps for their implementation.”

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Filed under: Migration, Papal Teachings

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