By Robin Gomes
The Holy See will be joining the world’s governments in adopting the Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), that takes centre stage next week in Marrakech, Morocco, December 10 and 11.
The Holy See’s support for the first intergovernmental agreement coordinated by the United Nations covering all dimensions of international migration was expressed in a statement by the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
In November, the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) was approved by the UN General Assembly in New York.
Pope’s 4-point action
Undersecretaries of the Migrants and Refugees Section, Jesuit priest Father Michael Czerny and Scalabrinian Father Fabio Baggio who signed the statement, highlighted the Holy See’s involvement with migrants and refugees, “applying Pope Francis’s approach as simply and eloquently expressed in four actions: welcome, protect, promote and integrate, all of which are founded on the Gospel.”
The Section has expanded the Pope’s 4 actions into 20 Action Points meant for pastoral planning and evaluation, which have become an essential part of the Holy See’s overall official contribution to the UN consultations in 2017 and 2018.
Frs. Czerny and Baggio expressed satisfaction that the principles and measures of the 20 Action Points are reflected in the final texts of the Compacts, specifically in about 15 of the 23 Objectives of the GCM.
GCM expressed universal values
Even though the GCM is a not a legally-binding agreement nor a convention or treaty, the Vatican Section said the Compact expresses many universal values as objectives, such as saving lives, prevention of smuggling and trafficking, reducing vulnerabilities in migration, managing borders well and investing in skills development.
Among the best practices in this regard, it pointed to initiatives such as offering education, opening humanitarian corridors, accompanying migrants through transit countries and fostering integration in host countries.
While welcoming the GCM, the Holy See however expressed reservations and comments on a few references in the text of the Compact, which it said are “neither agreed language in the international community nor in line with Catholic principles”, such as the so-called “Minimum Initial Service Package” (MISP) dealing with sexual and reproductive health (abortion), and the LGBTI agenda.