On World Refugee Day 2016, the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) renews its commitment to work with governments, international organizations, and civil society, including refugee protection agencies, to protect refugees and their families worldwide.
With 65.3 million people displaced in the world in 2015—the most since World War II– collaboration and shared responsibility between governments of countries of origin, transit and destination, with support from international organizations and civil society, are urgently needed to save lives and give our brothers and sisters the opportunity to rebuild their lives. Moreover, the world community should not tolerate the loss of life we see in the Mediterranean, where over 10,000 human beings seeking refuge in Europe have died.
Pope Francis, who has spoken out tirelessly on behalf of the rights of immigrants and refugees, issued an appeal for solidarity with and mercy for refugees. Addressing thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square after the Angelus, on Sunday, June 19, 2016, he emphasized that refugees are human beings and implored us not to turn away from their increasingly desperate cries for assistance: “Their stories and their faces call on us to renew our commitment for building peace through justice,” he stated. For this reason, he concluded, we need to stand together with them, “to meet them, to welcome them, to listen to them, to become with them builders of peace, according to God’s will.”
In response to this invitation of Pope Francis, SIMN will continue its services, advocacy, research, and educational and networking programs to protect refugees and all displaced in the world. In addition, SIMN will continue to host its annual International Forum on Migration and Peace to stimulate high-level dialogue and define concrete actions to strengthen the multifaceted bonds between migration and refugee flows and peaceful coexistence.
Moreover, SIMN looks forward to working with member states to achieve positive outcomes from the United Nation’s Summit on the Large Movements of Migrants and Refugees, to be held in September. Through this summit and collective action, the international community can address the record number of displaced in the world and offer them durable solutions to their plight. We offer our expertise and experience in this effort.
Pope Francis has referred to the “globalization of indifference” that pervades the world. 2016 should mark the year in which nations ended such indifference and worked together to end the global refugee crisis. We stand ready to assist in this effort.