Whipping up migrant fear sows violence

Don't push them back to places of persecution

(refiles with correct take number) (ANSA) - Vatican City, November 24 - Fomenting fears of migrants sows the seeds of racist violence, Pope Francis said in his message for next year's World Day of Peace Friday. The pope also called on government officials to be "prudent and responsible" in treating migrant issues. He stressed that migrants must not be pushed back to places of persecution and said migrants are not a threat but an "opportunity" for a future of peace.
    "Many destination countries have seen the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals, and by doing so demeans the human dignity due to all as sons and daughters of God," Francis said in his message.
    "Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being," said the pontiff.
    "All indicators available to the international community," he stressed, "suggest that global migration will continue for the future. "Some consider this a threat. "For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace." Pope Francis called for four "mileposts" for action: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.
    "Welcoming", he said "calls for expanding legal pathways for entry and no longer pushing migrants and displaced people towards countries where they face persecution and violence. "It also demands balancing our concerns about national security with concern for fundamental human rights." "Protecting", he went on, "has to do with our duty to recognize and defend the inviolable dignity of those who flee real dangers in search of asylum and security, and to prevent their being exploited. "I think in particular of women and children who find themselves in situations that expose them to risks and abuses that can even amount to enslavement.
    "Promoting", in turn, "entails supporting the integral human development of migrants and refugees," the pope said. "Among many possible means of doing so, I would stress the importance of ensuring access to all levels of education for children and young people. This will enable them not only to cultivate and realize their potential, but also better equip them to encounter others and to foster a spirit of dialogue rather than rejection or confrontation.
    "Integrating", lastly, Francis said, "means allowing refugees and migrants to participate fully in the life of the society that welcomes them, as part of a process of mutual enrichment and fruitful cooperation in service of the integral human development of the local community." Making a proposal for two international compacts, Francis said: "t is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees. "As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures.
    "For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. "Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference".


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