Vatican calls for urgent protection of refugees
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office in Geneva, called for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers when he spoke at the 53rd Session of the Executive Committee of the Program of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
"The lack of intelligent immigration policies only increases the likelihood of the trafficking of persons," said Archbishop Martin, "While vast resources are diverted to counteracting the movement of those who might in fact bring a useful contribution to the economic and social progress in the host country."
He also expressed Vatican concern about the protection of children, and the need to scrutinise UNHCR operations.
He said: "Refugee children, including adolescents under 18, constitute about 45% of all refugees. ... The serious allegations regarding the sexual exploitation of refugee children clearly point to the need of a continual review of the policies of UNHCR and all its partners in this area."
He concluded by stressing that "the community of nations affirms today with renewed vigour that the systematic use of sexual exploitation, of children or adults, by humanitarian operators remains equally unacceptable."
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