Holy See joins International Organization for Migration

.- The Holy See has become a full member state of the International Organization for Migration, pledging its commitment to support the organization and its mission.

“Around the globe, the movement of people who are looking for work or survival from famine, conflicts and the violation of their basic human rights continues to increase,” said Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Holy See’s permanent representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva.

It is the international community’s responsibility to respond in an “effective and humane” way, he added.

Archbishop Tomasi addressed the organization’s council and praised its “record of great service to displaced people,” noting that the Holy See’s membership intends to support this tradition.

The Holy See officially joined the organization on Dec. 5. The organization is observing its 60th anniversary and will hold its 100th council from Dec. 5-7 in Geneva, gathering about 50 government ministers, deputy prime ministers and deputy ministers from around the world.

Economic crisis does not decrease the numbers of uprooted people, but further complicates their lives, the archbishop said.

The current situation seems to require renewed discussion about people trying to “escape” from their countries across the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Arizona desert, or across transit countries like Egypt or Indonesia.

Archbishop Tomasi stressed the need to focus on the ethical dimension of migration.

“When the dignity of the human person and the right to life are at stake, these values should take priority,” he said.

Catholic organizations’ experience in Geneva and on the ground around the world is “well established and extensive.” Their response is dictated by the needs of the person and embraces “everyone” regardless of their race or religious belief.

These organizations are motivated by their belief in the “unique dignity” of every human person, and their service combines professional care and “generous love.”

“Thus it seems only right that public authorities acknowledge this contribution and, in a genuine sense of democracy, make room for conscience-based service that, in turn, becomes a guarantee of freedom for everyone.”

The International Organization for Migration has over 130 member states.

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