“No to the politics of fear”

Document of Caritas, Confer (Religious) and Justice and Peace on the Pope's appeal and the reception of migrants

The pressure of thousands of refugees seeking a better life in the Old Continent is escalating, along with walls and misunderstandings. While the Pope’s appeal to host migrants is echoed throughout, Caritas Spain, CONFER, (Spanish Conference of Religious) and Justice and Peace say no to the politics of fear, and yes to integration, reception and growth of the peoples.  Unacceptable inefficiency. “The bloody and inhuman events that we are witnessing on the Eastern front (Serbia, Greece, Macedonia…), just a few months after the presentation of the European Migration agenda, in addition to the heavy toll of human life and human tragedies, is characterised by political inefficiency that is unacceptable in terms of dignity and defence of human rights, that our society cannot afford”, claim Caritas Spain, CONFER and Justice and Peace. “It isn’t just a humanitarian crisis – they add -. It’s the blatant failure of a policy erroneously called migration policy, reduced to an indecent, million-euro worth inflow control system (Frontex, Eurosud…), supported thanks to the spread of fear of the invasion of strangers. Cayucos in California, Lampedusa, Ceuta and Melilla, the situation in Serbia, Greece or Macedonia, are but structural consequences-not causes- of this short-sighted policy.”Emergency responses are not enough. For Caritas Spain, Confer and Justice and Peace, “it isn’t just a refugee crisis. We cannot, and must not limit ourselves to give an emergency response to all these people who in fact need our protection. The reality we are living today is the result of a lack of coherent policies that will face the complexities of the causes underlying human mobility. There is a shortage of foreign policy, economic policy, cooperation for development policies.” Not only: “This is the result of insufficient cooperation policies that fail to remember that the decision to leave one’s home, job and one’s life is motivated by expulsion (war, lack of opportunities, climate change…) and that there are people that need protection, who need to be granted their human rights.”Facing the challenge. For Caritas Spain, CONFER, and Justice and Peace, “it’s time to face the challenge, which we are already facing as societies. We must prevent these events, that fill us with pain and shame, from cyclically reoccurring. The only solution proposed by the governments, namely, the path of security, is not feasible – neither in terms of humanity, nor in political terms.” “It’s time to recognize others – those who are different – not as invaders but as akin to us, entitled to our same rights, as a positive contribution to our mixed-race society; as brothers in difficulty, for whom we have to find a place, even if it means squeezing up.” Europe and Spain, they point out, “cannot miss this opportunity to reconsider the policies developed to date, to protect all those who strive to reach our countries, to invest in development and integration policies.”With Pope Francis. “We join our voices to that of Pope Francis, who, during his recent trip to Latin America encouraged the Christian community and the whole of society not to be afraid to ask for a change: ‘we want change, real change, structural change. This system is by now intolerable: farmworkers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable… The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, also finds it intolerable'”, stated Caritas Spain, CONFER and Justice and Peace. “We are lacking a true migration policy. We call upon political leaders to face this historic challenge and stop erecting fences, walls, and grids, and instead propose political solutions that give priority to people.” This can happen “by creating efficient routes for the protection and reception of refugees, by creating and developing legal avenues enabling migrants to access our territories”; “making it clear that human mobility is always an opportunity, and not a risk, for our aging Europe.” “We are facing a major challenge as a society, we must act as dignified human beings, making room in our homes and seeking new paths for all those who can enter.”

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