Vatican City, Dec 22, 2003 / 22:00 pm
In a letter for the 90th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated in 2004, Pope John Paul says that immigrants and refugees have rights, including the basic right to migrate.
The Pope writes in the message that “unfortunately we are used to witnessing the hopeless journey of immigrants, the desperate escape of refugees, their arrival by any means in the richest countries, seeking to satisfy their personal and family needs.” “Therefore,” he continues, “the question is: How can we talk about peace when situations of tension are reported in so many regions of the world? And how can the phenomenon of migration contribute to building up peace among men?”
After emphasizing that peace “is not only the absence of conflicts,” the Holy Father encourages “gestures and concrete efforts of forgiveness and reconciliation, overcoming differences and division. There can be no peace without justice and respect for human rights.”
“Creating specific peaceful conditions for migrants and refugees means working seriously to safeguard above all the right not to emigrate, that is to live in peace and dignity in one's own country.”