(Source: MJ/Vatican News)

The Holy See has reiterated its commitment to dialogue and working with others to find concrete solutions to mass migration and refugee movements, in order to preserve human lives and dignity, alleviate human suffering and advance an authentic integral development.

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other organizations in Geneva, made the pledge on Tuesday at a meeting sponsored by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on its document, “Resettlement and Complementary Pathways”.

Complementary pathways are safe and regulated avenues by which the displaced may be admitted in a country and have their international protection needs met while they are able to support themselves to potentially reach a sustainable and lasting solution. 

The document identifies resettlement and complementary pathways as “tangible mechanisms for more equitable burden-and responsibility-sharing.”

Third-country solutions

Archbishop Jurkovic acknowledged the efforts of the High Commissioner to increase third-country solutions for migrants through the Three Year Strategy on resettlement and complementary pathways (2019-2022) as laid down in the Global Compact for Refugees. He also welcomed pledges made to achieve this strategy in the context of the first Global Refugee Forum 2019. 

In this regard, Pope Francis, he noted, hopes that a greater number of countries will adopt private and community sponsorship programmes and open humanitarian corridors for the displaced.

“Benefit sharing”

Archbishop Jurkovic pointed out that countries which welcome refugees also participate in “benefit sharing”.

He said that “the social and professional inclusion” of refugees should be promoted and their abilities be appropriately acknowledged and valued, so they have the “possibility of employment, language instruction and active citizenship”. 

Humanitarian corridors

The Holy See diplomat commended the measures taken to evacuate refugees from Libya, where they were at great risk, to centres in Niger and in Rwanda.  

Regarding the situation in the North African nation, the Pope had appealed for serious efforts “to empty the detention camps in Libya” through humanitarian corridors, “evaluating and implementing all possible solutions”, especially for women, children and the sick.

The Holy See official expressed satisfaction that through these measures, some 1,200 refugees were resettled elsewhere.

Concrete solutions

Archbishop Jurkovic also appreciated the effort of the High Commissioner and many host governments to find lasting solutions for refugees, including through third-country resettlement programs and other complementary pathways, especially for those in vulnerable situations and who cannot return to their home countries or be integrated in countries of asylum.  

These efforts, he pointed out, are often supported by faith-based organizations and other civil society efforts to ensure positive inclusion and integration in local communities.

Fate of most refugees unsure

However, the Holy See envoy regretted that most of the refugees and families are uncertain about their future and are unable to meet their daily needs.

Many are confined to detention centres, where they are deprived of access to education, healthcare and decent work opportunities and thus risk being subjected to the crimes of human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Archbishop Jurkovic thus pledged the Holy See’s commitment to collaborate with others to protect the life and human dignity of refugees.

More on Novena on the Church’s support for humanitarian corridors

More on the Church’s defence of refugees:

Pope deplores conditions in Libyan migrant detention camps: “You cannot imagine the hell that people are living there”

Cardinal Montenegro denounces on anniversary of Pope’s trip to Lampedusa: “There is a Europe that is afraid of Africa”

Caritas Internationalis pleads for “courageous” solutions to plight of refugees, “victims of violence, fear and an unjust system”

Francis recalls on World Refugee Day: “Jesus is present in each person forced to flee to safety”


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