“Refugees are not numbers to be distributed and allocated, but persons with a name, a story, with hopes and aspirations”.
These were the words with which the Vatican Observer to the United Nations in Geneva reminded UN members tasked with producing an intergovermentally negotiated agreement for safe, orderly and regular migration to always put the dignity of the person at the centre of their work.
Programme of Action for the Global Compact for Migration
Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič was commenting on Part III.A of the Programme of Action for the Global Compact for Migration, which sets out mechanisms to achieve more equitable burden and responsibility sharing in receiving and integrating migrants and refugees.
The Holy See is a staunch supporter of the process for a Global Compact on Migration that is based on the belief that migration demands a global response based on the respect of the people involved.
The distribution of funds and resources, Jurkovič said, must not serve as a pretext for “subcontracting” the responsibility for protection to certain countries simply because of their geographical proximity to unstable areas.
Nor, he continued, should it be a justification for the “containment” of movement of refugees, but truly an expression of genuine international cooperation and solidarity with the clear objective of achieving durable solutions.
Praise for efforts to end discrimination
Lastly, Jurkovič said, the Holy See delegation welcomes the reference that links the Programme of Action to broader efforts to end discrimination based on race, color, religion or creed, and to promote and protect human rights.
Indeed, he continued, it is important that the Global Compact be firmly centered on the human person, avoiding any ideological considerations, including those dealing with “age, gender and diversity”.