UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES Filippo Grandi praised Pope Francis’ holistic approach to global displacement and the needs of the most vulnerable, including those forced to flee their homes, as expressed in the encyclical letter Fratelli Tutti, during a private Audience at the Holy See.

The High Commissioner highlighted the importance of strengthening cooperation between the Holy See and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in welcoming, protecting and integrating asylum-seekers and refugees during his visit to the Vatican City.

Pope Francis, handing over to the High Commissioner a signed copy of his message for the celebration of the 54th World Day of Peace, shared his concern over the extent of global humanitarian emergencies. More than 80 million people are forced to flee conflict, persecution and violence, with the poorest countries bearing the brunt of the world’s refugee crisis.

“Pope Francis is the voice of the most marginalised people: refugees, the forcibly displaced and migrants”, Grandi said. “His tireless commitment has made a concrete difference in the response to those who are fleeing major humanitarian crises, by providing a safe place and effective assistance for integrating the most vulnerable in receiving countries”, he added.

UNHCR is looking forward to extending its existing partnership with the Vatican in line with the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees, which aims at sharing responsibility with those countries hosting and supporting the largest numbers of displaced people.

Following the meeting on 16 April, Fillipo Grandi tweeted: ” Pope Francis is one of the greatest champions of the cause of refugees and migrants. In a world which risks leaving too many behind, I went to see him today seeking strength and vision, and I left him determined and inspired to continue our work for those in need.”

* Read Fratelli Tutti here.

* Source: UNHCR