Afghan refugee children outside their mud house at a refugee camp in Pakistan Afghan refugee children outside their mud house at a refugee camp in Pakistan 

Holy See welcomes "Zero Draft" for Global Compact for Migration

The Holy See's Permanent Observer to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva has welcomed the "Zero Draft" for the Global Compact for Migration, underlining the need for political will and calling for the inclusion of a reference to the spiritual dimension as one of the basic human rights of migrants.

By Linda Bordoni

The Holy See has welcomed the “Zero Draft” for the Global Compact for Migration but underlined that political will is also needed to protect the fundamental rights of all displaced people.

The Global Compact for Migration will be the first, intergovernmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner. 

In a statement,  Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the UN and other Organizations in Geneva,  expressed the Vatican’s gratitude to the UNHCR and, in particular, to the Assistant High Commissioner for his leadership and his thorough presentation of the Zero Draft.

Global Compact calls for cooperation within the international community

Referring to the September 2016  New  York  Declaration which paved the way to the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees and of the one for Safe, Orderly and Regular migration, Jurkovič said the task envisioned “surpasses the good will of any single country and calls for flexibility, coherence and cooperation within the international community”.

He described the current one as an historical  moment and as  an  opportunity  to find  durable solutions that respond to the principles  of  “solidarity  and  fraternal  compassion  by  offering  a  more concerted and equitable global response”.

Pope's appeal to spare no ambition to set concrete policiies and measures  

Pope Francis, he said, reminds us that “defending the inalienable rights of refugees, ensuring their fundamental freedoms and respecting their dignity are duties from which no one can be exempted” and he urged all players to spare no ambition to set concrete policies and measures.

Jurkovič pointed out that “The  Zero  Draft  acknowledges  the  generous  and  admirable  responses  of  those  local families and communities  that, in spite of their own hardships, have kept their borders and hearts  open  to  welcome  refugees” and said that “these  societies  ought  to  receive  tangible  and  prompt support from the international community”.

Need for political will

Above all, he called for the commitment of leaders to ensure that the responsibility to protect is comprehensive enough to embrace the prevention of forced displacement tragedies.

He said that, in this regard,  development  is  essential,  but it “must  go  hand  in  hand  with humanitarian assistance” always bearing in mind that refugees are children,  women  and  men”  who  are forced to migrate and who share a “legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more”

Jurkovič said the  protection  of  the  fundamental  rights  of  all  people  is  the  key  to  changing  the situation of refugees and displaced persons, and he called for the inclusion of a reference  to  “the  spiritual  dimension  of refugees and the right to religious freedom.”

Spiritual dimension to be taken into considertion

He concluded proposing an additional clause that highlights the need for a holistic service “ rather than a mere list of disjointed best practices from which to draw here and there, according to national priorities” and that in all cases the human person remains under the protection of the principles of humanity and the dictates of the public conscience.

Listen to our report

Thank you for reading our article. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to our daily newsletter. Just click here

14 February 2018, 12:54