more legal avenues for migration

In the Paul VI Hall, he met several thousand families who came to Europe from countries devastated by war thanks to the “humanitarian corridors” promoted by the Community of Sant’Egidio. “Without safe and sustainable reception paths, fear shuts down the future and justifies the barriers on which human lives are destroyed.”

Vatican City () – In today’s world it is necessary to “open more legal channels” for those fleeing wars and serious situations, because “safe, orderly, regular and sustainable migration is good for all countries”. This is what Francis said this morning when he received in audience in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican the fugitives and refugees in Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra. They arrived thanks to the “humanitarian corridors” that the Community of Sant’Egidio launched together with the Federation of Evangelical Churches, the Waldensian Table and the Italian Episcopal Conference in collaboration with the Italian authorities.

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

Humanitarian corridors – said the Pope – “are a feasible way to avoid the tragedies and dangers linked to the trafficking of human beings”, such as the recent shipwreck in Cutro, in Italy, with dozens of deaths. “They cross borders and, even more so, the walls of indifference in which the hope of so many people often breaks, who wait for years in painful and unbearable situations. Each one deserves attention for the hard history they have lived.”

However, for the Pontiff, “many efforts are still needed to extend this model”, which benefits everyone. “If we do not help to recognize this, we run the risk that fear will turn off the future and justify the barriers on which human lives are broken.” In this sense, the humanitarian corridors show “a path to Europe, so that it does not remain blocked, scared, without a vision of the future.”

As for the challenge of integration, Francis acknowledged that “it is not exempt from difficulties” because “not all who arrive are prepared for the long road that awaits them.” For this reason, he thanked the hundreds of people, families, communities, who made themselves available to carry out this commitment: “You opened your hearts and your homes,” he said, “you supported the integration with your resources and involved other people. I give you my thanks.” thank you from the bottom of my heart: they represent a beautiful face of Europe, which is open to the future and pays for itself”. “You are mediators of a history of integration, not intermediaries who profit by taking advantage of need and suffering,” he added, addressing the promoters of humanitarian corridors. “You show that if you work seriously to lay the foundations, it is possible to welcome and integrate effectively.”

But the Pontiff also highlighted the important role played by those who were welcomed in these ways. “They showed a firm will to live free from fear and insecurity – he recalled -. They found friends and collaborators who are now a second family for you. They studied a new language and got to know a new society. All this was difficult, but fruitful. I say it also as the son of a family of emigrants who traveled this path. Their good example and industriousness help to dispel fears and alarms about foreigners. On the contrary, their presence can be a blessing for the country in which they find themselves and whose laws and culture have learned to respect”.

Finally, the meeting with those who fled the war was a new opportunity to invoke peace. “The Pope does not give up seeking peace, hoping for it and praying for it,” Francis said, addressing those present who came from the “martyred Ukraine”, but also the people who have fled so many other wars.

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Written by Editor TLN

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