Caritas on World Refugee Day: Walls cannot become the norm
By Lisa Zengarini
On the occasion of World Refugee Day 2022, Caritas Internationalis raised its voice and expressed concern about the lack of international solidarity in welcoming refugees and asylum seekers without discrimination. “Every person has the fundamental right to seek and enjoy asylum”, said a statement echoing this years’ theme 'Whoever, Whatever, Whenever. Everyone has a right to seek safety'. “
100 million people forcibly displaced worldwide in 2022
In the first months of 2022, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations, the highest levels of displacement on record. From 2019-2021, more than 8,436 migrants, including asylum seekers, have lost their lives and 5,534 migrants have gone missing in transit.
Standing with refugees and asylum seekers
In its statement, Caritas Internationalis reiterated its commitment for refugees and asylum seekers, saying it stands with them to save their lives and nurture a culture of encounter, non-discrimination, and sharing.
“Providing all refugees and asylum seekers with access to basic services, vocational training and work opportunities, both in the countries of transit and of destination, without any discrimination, is a key to restore their dignity and their aspiration for a peaceful life”, the statement concluded.
Everyone has the right to protection
The Caritas Internationalis call and commitment were echoed by Caritas Europe which published a video on its website with testimonies from three refugees from Ukraine, Somalia, and Syria.
The European branch of the Confederation urged EU decision-makers to ensure safe pathways, dignified reception, and integration support for all people seeking refuge in the EU, regardless of their country of origin, noting that the positive response to those fleeing war in Ukraine shows that where there is political will, there is a way.
According to Caritas Europe, “this is a matter of global solidarity since countries near conflict zones have been accepting almost 90% of the world’s displaced for years, despite numerous domestic challenges, which have only worsened by soaring food insecurity and supply chain challenges linked to the war in Ukraine”.
Drawing on the welcoming response to those fleeing Ukraine
People on the move should not be perceived as a threat, and pushbacks at our borders must stop immediately, said Maria Nyman, Secretary General of Caritas Europa. “Instead, we urge European leaders to provide a humane response to all, drawing on the welcoming response to those displaced from Ukraine”.