Vatican UN observer calls for solidarity with refugees

By staff writers
October 9, 2007

Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the Office of the United Nations and Specialized Institutions in Geneva, spoke of the need for compassionate support of refugees during the 58th session the UN High Commission for Refugees executive last week.

Speaking in English, Archbishop Tomasi expressed regret that "the number of refugees has increased again to some ten million persons, and internally displaced people to well over 24 million. The statistical trend shows that uprooting people from their homes is a major injustice caused by persisting conflicts that trigger this dehumanizing condition."

"Other forms of violence," he added, "force people to leave their homes and native countries: these include extreme misery, environment degradation, religious intolerance and persecution, lack of freedom, lack of respect for advocacy activity on behalf of human rights. Millions of normal, ordinary human beings are thrust into situations of incredible humiliation and suffering."

"Public opinion tends to accept almost as normal the fact that millions of fellow human beings are so uprooted and relegated to miserable and painful conditions," the archbishop observed." But welcoming 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."

"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", he declared.

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