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Pope Francis

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Pope on refugees: Bureaucratic requirements should not prevent respect for their dignity


The pope opened the International Forum on Migration and Peace in Rome, which seeks new ways to care for people who are forced to flee their countries.

This family explained to him how they escaped from Eritrea. She came across the Red Sea and he crossed the desert in Sudan and Libya, before boarding a barge heading to Lampedusa.

"We send a meaningful appeal to Your Holiness to ask the corresponding authorities to open legal channels of entry so that asylum seekers will not risk their lives in the hands of the traffickers or when crossing the desert and the sea."

In his long speech, the pope recalled that these people are forced to emigrate because of war and hunger. He asked the international community to respond to this refugee crisis with four steps: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate. 

"There is a civic duty. Our commitment to migrants, displaced persons and refugees is an application of these principles and values of welcome and fraternity that constitute a common heritage of humanity and wisdom which we draw from."

Pope Francis recalled just because these people are in an irregular legal situation does not mean their human dignity can be violated.

"Today more than ever it is necessary to reaffirm the core of the human person, without allowing contingent and accessory conditions, even if they are necessary, such as the fulfillment of bureaucratic or administrative requirements, eclipsing the essential dignity."

The pope asked for a greater imagination to overcome the present ways of receiving them, since refugee camps sometimes do not seek a solution to the problem. He once again proposed the creation of humanitarian corridors and personalized hosting models that operate in countries such as Italy or Canada.