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Caritas Calls on EU Governments to Guarantee Reception and Fair Treatment of Those Fleeing the Middle East and North Africa


27 May 2011


Global Europe

The Regional Conference of all the Caritas organisations in Europe, gathering in Rome on the 26th of May, in the light of the crisis in the Mediterranean region, calls upon the governments to guarantee the reception and fair treatment of those fleeing from the countries of the Middle East and North Africa.

Caritas Europa also invites civil society and the Christian communities to be in solidarity with the people and Churches of Middle East and North Africa. The recent events that have affected the whole Mediterranean area are an important challenge for Europe as well as for European and national migration and asylum policies. Since the beginning of the year, the uprisings in the Middle East and North African countries have caused the landing of many people on the coasts of southern Europe.

Some countries such as Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus are receiving most of the migrants entering irregularly in search of security and better economic conditions, as well as refugees who are seeking international protection.

Most of the migrants and refugees face dangerous trips, risking their lives to reach Europe. In order to prevent tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea, we call on governments to put in place safe channels of migration and adequate resettlement quotas in European countries. The positive effects would be twofold:

    * Saving human lives and

    * Ensuring solidarity among European states reflecting our common values.

As underlined by the European Commission, international migration flows can be an opportunity for cultural, human and social enrichment. We see migration as an opportunity for both the receiving countries of Europe and the countries of origin of migrants. The potential impact of migration, however, can truly be considered positive if the successful integration of migrants into the countries of destination is achieved.

We note that, regrettably, Development Aid from many European countries has steadily decreased. This has contributed to increased poverty in developing countries, leading to further migration flows. In this context, the reality is that restricted admission and migration policies force migrants and refugees into irregular situations.

We note too, that xenophobia and discrimination are an increasing phenomenon in all the European countries. This is why we must be faithful to our common values, in reconciling identity and integration.

The Holy Father during his recent visit to Venice, recalled the responsibility of all Christians to take on the urgent challenge of showing solidarity and humanity, especially in the light of what we have experienced in recent months.

Caritas calls on governments to implement migration and asylum policies in line with the international human rights standards and principles. Caritas also calls on governments for strong development and investment policies in countries of origin. To conclude, it is necessary to create a humane and comprehensive common European migration, asylum and development policy.


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Thorfinnur Omarsson
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