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Rome Reports

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Vatican works to stop continuous deaths in the Mediterranean

The phenomenon of illegal immigration and the refugee crisis, have provoked some governments to respond to these two global emergencies. The Vatican is contributing its part to an international instrument called Global Compacts, two global pacts that must be approved before the end of 2018 and serve refugees and immigrants.

FR. FABIO BAGGIO
Undersecretary, Dicastery for Integral Human Development
"Let us think of the largest cemeteries of today, like the deserts, these places where immigrants pass through, and also the Mediterranean Sea... Society is asking us for immediate rescue action for refugees on one hand; but we are also required to clarify and broaden the legal channels and securities that ensure that a refugee is safe and doesn't have to risk his life."

This Vatican department on emigrants and refugees, personally led by the pope, is determined to support every action that will save as many lives as possible. To remember the importance of this commitment, the Dicastery houses this life jacket that a Spanish rescuer gave Pope Francis. It belonged to a six-year-old Syrian girl who died in the Mediterranean.

In order to fulfill their mission, they are utilizing all Vatican resources within their reach. The objective is to put into practice the 20 points from Global Compacts in the four verbs that the pope has proposed for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

FR. FABIO BAGGIO
Undersecretary, Dicastery for Integral Human Development
"We have informed the Holy Father of our work. He gave us the 'go ahead' to proceed in line and this document has 20 points in all. We are in close contact with the Secretariat of State so that these points are made part of our awareness campaign that must be able to influence, at least according to our objectives, and reflect the international community.”

These 20 points are especially focused on establishing safe and legal channels for those fleeing from wars, hunger or endemic violence and are being proposed to governments around the world. As history proves, it is nothing new for the Church to open their doors to refugees. That is why Fr. Baggio spoke of putting good practices in place to show that integration is possible. 

FR. FABIO BAGGIO
Undersecretary, Department for Integral Human Development
"Without exaggerating, there are millions of people who receive the help of the Catholic Church either through religious congregations or commissions and offices of local churches. Many are dedicated to immigrants or Catholic organizations, like Caritas. (FLASH). There are countless positive experiences that we are gathering from all nations and regions, and we will try to document them in a report that we want to publish next year."

The first tool to help them in their work are parishes. This is the first door that welcomes people arriving from other countries and here they encounter their first pair of open arms. Pulling from this experience, the Vatican wants to demonstrate that changing international policies in favor of the weak is an urgent call.