Cardinal Hollerich calls for solidarity with refugees
The President of COMECE, the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, expresses his concern at the situation of migrants and asylum seekers in a situation of vulnerability at the eastern borders of Europe
By Lisa Zengarini
“To be European is also to put solidarity into practice”, recalled Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, following a letter addressed to the European Commission on 7 October by ministers from 12 EU Member States on recent developments at the external borders of the European Union.
In a statement released on Friday, the president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) expressed concern about the situation of migrants and asylum seekers in vulnerable situations, including human dignity and fundamental rights. , he said, “should be confirmed.”
12 European countries call for stricter rules against illegal immigration
The letter in question was signed by the ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania. He calls for stricter European rules and more effective “border control”, to prevent “illegal border crossings”, “to fight against illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings” and “to prevent any threat to the internal security, public order, health and international relations ”.
The right to seek asylum must be protected
In his declaration Released on Friday, Cardinal Hollerich stressed that “the right to seek asylum must be protected and states must respect the principle of non-refoulement of people in danger in their country of origin”. “We believe that to be European is also to put solidarity into practice”, declared the prelate, recalling the words of Pope Francis in his Message for the 40th anniversary of COMECE in which he writes: “We dream of an inclusive and generous Europe, […] a welcoming and hospitable place where charity, the highest Christian virtue, overcomes all forms of indifference and egoism ”.
Create legal and secure channels for migrants
Cardinal Hollerich further reiterated the EU Bishops’ support for “resettlement efforts by EU member states, civil society and Church actors” and for the creation of “legal and secure avenues. for migrants, to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminal smuggling networks. and traffickers ”.
Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants
In the context of the ongoing negotiations on the proposal for a European Pact on Migration and Asylum, COMECE finally calls on the European Union and its member states “to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and asylum seekers “, Supporting a” positive perception and discourse of migrants and their families “.
Growing tensions at the borders of Eastern Europe
The letter from the 12 EU ministers was sent amid growing tensions on the borders of Eastern Europe, where more and more refugees try to enter the EU from Belarus and are turned away by the police from the Polish borders. Poland and the EU accuse Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko of waging a “hybrid war” in retaliation for Western sanctions against his authoritarian government in Minsk. However, some of the migrants who have been returned are asylum seekers in vulnerable situations who are entitled to protection under international law.