Press Release – Forum On Migration and Peace “Integration and Development: From Reaction to Action”

Rome, 21 February 2017 – The sixth International Forum on Migration and Peace has started in Rome today. This Forum is jointly organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

The focus of this major event is on “Integration and development: from reaction to action”. The Forum aims at identifying migration policies and practices especially in Europe concerning two main topics integration of migrants and refugees in the hosting countries, and the role of migrants in fostering economic development in the countries of origin. 

The Forum brings together decision-makers, senior officers of international organizations, academia, senior decision makers, political representatives and members of civil society organizations working on migration issues and with associations of migrants, representatives of the Catholic Church from all continents. During the audience which opened the two day Forum the Holy Father, Pope Francis, demanded more solidarity with refugees and migrants. “I feel the need to express particular concern for the forced migratory movements, which increases the challenge presented to the political community, to civil society and to the Church, and wich amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges. Our share response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate” he stated.

More than 65 million people worldwide are currently in need of international protection – many more are seeking a way to improve their life through migration. Last September the United Nations launched a process that aims at finding new mechanisms of solidarity with refugees and their hosting countries as well as better forms of regulating migration and supporting migrants.

“Scalabrinians have been working with migrants and refugees for 130 years. The time we are living presents serious concerns about migration issues. The aim of this Forum is to create a synergic approach in order to find a common and sustainable answer, showing and sharing good policies and practices present in the society” affirmed fr. Leonir Mario Chiarello, executive director of SIMN.

“Migration flows are generating reactions in almost all the countries around the world, instilling fears and prejudices. It is a reality that nowadays there are more migrants then in the past, eradicated from their countries, homes, lands. 250 millions of people live and work in a country other than where they were born. In front of this phenomenon, causing the births of xenophobic parties and new walls, the Christian reply inspired by its values is formulated in a new way, considering fears on one side, but also underlining the vulnerability and sufferings of those on the move. The Church identifies itself through the point of view of victims of wars, economic inequalities, which are the ultimate causes of the movements of people.” H. E. Silvano Tomasi c.s. of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development of the Holy See concluded.   The time seems right for finding better solutions to the complex issues around migration, refugee protection and integration. “I believe it is our duty as Christians to reach out and find ways to support those in need. This support should not stop at providing the basic needs but it should endeavor to help build a stable future.” said Hans-Gert Pöttering, Chairman of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.