03/18/2023, 13.54
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Pope: more legal channels for migration

Meeting in the Paul VI hall with several thousand families who have come to Europe from war-torn countries thanks to the "humanitarian corridors" promoted by the Community of Sant'Egidio. "Without safe and sustainable paths of reception, fear extinguishes the future and justifies the barriers on which human lives are broken."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Todya's world needs to "open more legal paths" for those fleeing wars and serious situations, because "safe, orderly, regular and sustainable migration is in the interest of all countries," said Francis said this morning.

The Pope met welcomed refugees and displaced persons to the Vatican's Paul VI hall, who have found refuge in Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra thanks to the "humanitarian corridors" that the Community of Sant'Egidio has set up together with the Federation of Evangelical Churches, the Waldensian Table and the Italian Bishops' Conference in collaboration with Italian authorities.

Families from numerous countries at war or affected by serious humanitarian emergencies such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, South Sudan, and Ukraine shared their stories with the Pope. More than 6,000 people have been able to reach safe places through this humanitarian initiative since 2016, a sign of a concrete alternative that is possible and coordinated with governments to the journeys of despair in the Mediterranean Sea.

In his speech the Pope said: "Humanitarian corridors are a viable way to avoid the tragedies and dangers of human trafficking," such as the recent shipwreck at Cutro in Italy with its dozens of deaths. "They cross borders and, even more, the walls of indifference on which the hope of so many people is often shattered, who wait for years in painful and unbearable situations. Each of you deserves attention because of the hard history you have lived."

He noted however, that "many efforts are still needed to extend this model" that is in everyone's interest. "If this is not helped to be recognized, the risk is that fear will extinguish the future and justify the barriers on which human lives are broken." In this sense, humanitarian corridors point "a way to Europe, so that it does not remain stuck, afraid, without a vision of the future."

Francis acknowledged that the challenge of integration "is not without difficulties" because "not all those who arrive are prepared for the long journey that awaits them." This is why he thanked the hundreds of people, families, communities, who have made themselves available to carry out this commitment: "You have opened your hearts and your homes," he said, "You have supported integration with your resources and involved other people. I thank you from the bottom of my heart: you represent a beautiful face of Europe, which opens to the future and pays for itself."

"You are mediators of a history of integration, not middlemen who make money by taking advantage of need and suffering," he added, addressing the promoters of the humanitarian corridors. "You show that if you work seriously to lay the groundwork, it is possible to welcome and integrate effectively."

But the pontiff also emphasized the important role played by those who have been welcomed through these pathways. "You have shown a firm will to live free from fear and insecurity," he recalled.

"You have found friends and supporters who are today a second family for you. You have studied a new language and learned about a new society. All this has been difficult, but it is fruitful. I also say this as the son of a family of emigrants who made this journey. Your good example and industriousness help to dispel fears and alarms about foreigners. Indeed, your presence can be a blessing to the country in which you find yourself and whose laws and culture you have learned to respect."

Finally, the meeting with those who fled war was yet another opportunity for him to call for peace. "The pope does not give up to seek peace, to hope for peace and to pray for it," Francis said, addressing those present from "tormented Ukraine," but also people who have fled so many other wars.

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