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Migrants: Catholics and Protestants, may the Italian Government promote a “European humanitarian corridor”

(Foto: AFP/SIR)

“A migration policy that does not open new safe and legal access routes to Europe will necessarily encourage illegal migration. For this reason, we call on European countries to redouble, or at least extend, the humanitarian corridors opened in Italy for the first time at the beginning of 2016. The test phase has come to an end, and the results, positive in many respects, are under everyone’s eyes. It is then desirable to generalise this model, which saves from traffickers in human beings and facilitates integration. For this reason, we urge the Italian Government to increase the number of beneficiaries who are welcomed in our country and to promote a ‘European humanitarian corridor’, managed by the EU and by a network of voluntary countries, while also providing an adequate sponsorship system”. Italian Catholics and Protestants wrote this in a joint appeal issued on the occasion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The document was signed by Mgr. Stefano Russo, secretary general of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI); Luca M. Negro, president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy; Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Community of Sant’Egidio; and Eugenio Bernardini, moderator of the Waldensian Board. “We want everyone to know that, for us, helping those in need is not a do-gooding gesture, naive altruism or, worse still, a gesture of convenience: it is the very essence of our faith. We are saddened and disturbed by the superficial and repetitive rhetoric that has been used for months to address the issue of global migrations, losing sight of the fact that behind the flows, the arrivals and the statistics are men, women and children who are denied fundamental human rights: in the countries they flee, as well as in the countries they cross, as in Libya, they end up in prison camps where they struggle to survive. Singling them out as a threat to our well being, seeing them as potential criminals or as taking advantage of our reception, betrays the stories of those migrants – including Italian migrants – who have instead contributed to the economic, social and cultural development of many countries. Hence we demand that – in political confrontation – sight is not lost of the respect that is due to people and to their stories of suffering”.

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