Vatican urges respect for immigrants' rights

The Vatican said that respect for immigrants' human rights is also an important benefit for host countries.

Zenit reports that Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, expressed this conviction when addressing the session of the Commission on Population and Development of the Economic and Social Council.

"Although (migration) is a historic and ubiquitous phenomenon, efforts to shape it and control it by political and legal means have not always led to happy results," Archbishop Migliore siad.

In fact, "sometimes it is painted as a threat and is manipulated for short-term political gain, at the expense of the most natural rights of all human beings - the right to life, to citizenship, to work and to development," the prelate said.

However, "for receiving countries, the net economic impact of international migration is said to be generally positive," the Archbishop said.

He said studies in developed countries show that migrants can contribute substantially to relieving the fiscal burden on future generations. "Over the medium and long term, migration can even generate employment and produce net fiscal gains."

But he said there are dangers for both developing and host countries.

"The emigration of skilled personnel can be detrimental to the development prospects of countries of origin," he said. "Especially small developing countries losing high proportions of skilled citizens."

On the other hand, "by 2030, migration may account for all population growth in (developed) countries," said the Archbishop. "Demographic shifts in populations on such a scale will surely have radical consequences for the entire composition of nations."

"So a balance has to be struck between the evident benefits of migration on the one hand and a consideration of the social impact of large numbers of migrants in receiving countries, especially when they are not yet integrated, on the other," he said.

Archbishop Migliore adds: "Furthermore, there seems to be a growing awareness that immigration cannot be the single solution to demographic and labour problems of receiving countries."

He concludes: "The World Summit Outcome document rightly acknowledged the nexus between international migration and development and the need to deal with the challenges and opportunities that migration presents to countries of origin, destination and transit.

"It is to be hoped that the resolve expressed by all the world's leaders to take measures to ensure respect for and protection of the human rights of migrants, migrant workers and members of their families will be built upon, to the benefit of all peoples without distinction."

Holy See: Respect for Immigrants' Rights Aids Host Nation (Zenit 5/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office

Migration can generate employment and other benefits (Vatican Information Service 6/4/06 - temporary url)
Cardinal urges 'fair' migrant law (BBC 6/4/06)
Vatican's U.N. rep: immigration debate must not be manipulated for short-term political gain at expense of human beings (Catholic News Agency 6/4/06)
Immigration Bill "a Good Start," Says Episcopate (Zenit 5/4/06)
Calls for prayer, rallies, boycott mark immigration debate (Catholic News Service 3/4/06)
Cardinal lashes out at immigration bill (The Tablet 1/4/06)
Sisters discuss care of immigrants in Japan (Japan Catholic Weekly 26/3/06)
Church Concerned Over U.S. Immigration Bill (Zenit 28/3/06)
Vatican official expresses concern about proposed US immigration reform (Catholic News Agency 22/3/06)

7 Apr 2006