- Catholic News Agency - Thursday, October 9, 2014

Geneva, Switzerland — Noting an alarming increase in forcibly-displaced migrants around the world, the Holy See has asked the United Nations to take a more proactive role in working to prevent displacements.

“Today we have reached the highest number of forcibly displaced persons since World War II. It is not merely an increase in quantity, but there is also a concomitant increase of complexity due to non-state actors in current conflicts and unpredictable massive displacement as a consequence,” stressed Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi, Holy See Permanent Observer to the U.N. office in Geneva.

Protection of these migrant persons is “a common goal” for States, although it is “an ever growing challenge,” he noted in a statement issued Oct. 1 at the Executive Committee of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

“This is due in large part to unprecedented number of persons of the move; the lack of financial resources as a result of donor fatigue; ever-more restrictive measures limiting access for asylum seekers; the reality of tensions which tend to arise between local populations and newly arrived; and additionally, the phenomenon of unaccompanied minors, that is increasingly visible in the Americas, and also in Europe,” the archbishop said.

“This phenomenon creates a tremendous burden upon the host States, who must invest an exceptional amount of their resources and thus places an obligation of solidarity on the wider community,” he stressed.

For this, reason the Holy See supports a “necessary change of policy from focusing on assistance to prevention.”

This change of policy “implies an important cultural shift, in which the human person, with his inviolable dignity and inalienable human rights, is the center of attention, rather than being a mere instrument for economic and political decision,” underscored Archbishop Tomasi.

Encouraging the “continued extraordinary generosity of many donor countries” who have welcomed forcibly displaced people, the Holy See pointed out that “long term stay of populations in camps and the increasing number of persons in overcrowded urban areas are in themselves a clear manifestation of violence that can only destroy and fragment society.”

According to U.N. commissioner data, the number of refugees in the world reached 51,2 million in June – the largest number since the Second World War.

Financial aid reached a record amount of 22 billion dollars in 2013, but still threatens to be insufficient to support the current flux of migration, a commissioner report said.

“The present situation in the world is an appeal to the international community that the only positive way forward is to pursue the path of dialogue toward peaceful coexistence,” Archbishop Tomasi emphasized.

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