Statement of H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza
Head of the Delegation of the Holy See to the Stocktaking meeting of the
Preparatory process towards the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration
“Concluding Session — Towards a Coherent Institutional Architecture
and Effective Partnerships”
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 6 December 2017
Distinguished Co-facilitators and Panelists,
The 2015 New York Declaration was negotiated and adopted in a moment of crisis, when the sheer number of people on the move and those forcibly displaced were unlike anything the world has seen since World War II. While many immediate solutions have been found and the crisis seems to have partially subsided, the question remains whether these remedies have been made truly in the best interests of migrants, and thus whether they will endure or whether they are sustainable in persistently unstable situations in many parts of the world.
Our task heading into the third phase of this process is to seek sustainable solutions, through a framework of actionable commitments that respects the human rights of migrants while ensuring peace, development and security for all in countries of origin, transit and destination. My Delegations firmly believes that an adequate framework and international response must include short, medium and long-term approaches to migration governance. These approaches must acknowledge both the right to migrate and the sovereign right of States to protect their borders and set migration policy, always in full respect for the human rights of migrants, regardless of their migration status.
Short-term approaches in migration management do not mean simply avoiding crisis or seeking partial solutions that will haunt us later, like sending forced migrants back into the same situations of conflict and violence from which they fled, or back into situations of extreme poverty in which they would be completely left behind, both of which undermine their human rights and potentially create worse situations to come.
Short-term approaches in migration management require prudence and responsibility on the part of both the migrant and the host community, in countries of destination and transit and eventual return. Such approaches invariably include answering the immediate and basic needs of migrants, respecting international humanitarian law, human rights and the rule of law, and the mutual respect for the migrants and by the migrants for their host community.
In the medium term, the adoption of policies and agreements to encourage safe, orderly and regular migration at the national, regional, and international level must be encouraged. Medium-term approaches recognize that migration is a right and responds to the innate desire of every human being for happiness, greater opportunities, and a better life. Medium-term approaches include policies that increase regular pathways for migration and seek creative, durable solutions for those forced to flee their homes. They include return policies and procedures that respect international law. These are policies that will make migration safe and orderly both in times of crisis and stability.
In the long term and lastly, an adequate framework for safe, orderly and regular migration must, first and foremost, respect the prior right of all to remain in their countries in peace and security. Migration should not be a desperate necessity; it should be a choice.
To make migration a choice, States must fulfill their concrete commitments to international development. This means a long-term approach to peace and security through preventing and ending armed conflicts and violence among peoples and States, as well as investing in jobs, education, health and infrastructure that will allow people to remain in their homeland without being constrained to leave. At all levels of governance, it means the promotion of stable democratic institutions and good governance, including the constant effort to prevent or to eradicate corruption and wasteful employment of resources. It means the respect for and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It means ensuring that all have access to justice, including the migrants. Long-term migration management requires that migrants, too, must not neglect their own responsibility to integrate by, among other things, learning and respecting the culture, value system and laws of their host communities.
While many of these commitments are already contained in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Accord, and other international agreements, there is a need to place these commitments more firmly in the context of migration during the negotiation towards the Global Compact.
Distinguished Co-facilitators and Panelists,
“In the spirit of compassion,” Pope Francis invites us “[to] embrace all those who flee hunger and war or are forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homeland.”
Migrants are in search of peace and security, development and the full enjoyment of their rights. Let us work to ensure that the Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration will make these United Nations pillars its very foundations as well.
1. Pope Francis, “Migrants and refugees: seekers of peace,” World Day of Peace Message, 2018.