August 22, 2017

Vatican official calls for global ‘permanent and generous’ funding for migrants

An undersecretary for the Vatican’s new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development suggests governments split funds 50-50 between migrants and local poor in areas where they are arriving. He spoke in Berlin at the tenth Global Forum for Migration and Development.

By Joshua J. Mcelwee, Vatican Insider.

An undersecretary for the new Vatican office devoted to issues facing migrants and refugees has called on global governments to create a “permanent and generous funding facility” for the areas of the world receiving the largest numbers of migrants.

Jesuit Fr. Michael Czerny, one of two undersecretaries for the Migrants and Refugees Section of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, proposed to a roundtable forum in Berlin Wednesday that funds could be split 50-50 between aid to migrants and to local poor in the areas most affected by their arrival.
“The 50-50 principle … brings us back to one of the key foundations of the Sustainable Development Goals: to address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries in such a way that ‘No one is left behind,” said Czerny, speaking on behalf of the Holy See at the tenth Global Forum for Migration and Development.

The Jesuit told representatives taking part in the roundtable that he had recently visited Lampedusa, the Italian island accepting large numbers of migrants risking a journey over the Mediterranean to flee violence in the Middle East and Africa.
Czerny, a Canadian, said that while he was on Lampedusa he went with a parish priest to visit a harbor where the migrants are arriving.

“The dramatic, deeply human moment of arrival did not seem to promise the mutual benefit of host and origin communities,” said the undersecretary. “On the contrary, I could not help but think: ‘Here is the arrival of Africa’s best — the youth, the talent, the courage, the hope.” Yet, it seemed to be a moment of net loss for Africa, without necessarily promising much benefit to those who had survived the dangerous journey and finally arrived on shore.”

The Jesuit said the parish near the harbor, San Gerlando, “discovered an important key to moving beyond the emergency towards durable solutions.” They divide every financial donation they receive in half, with one part going towards aiding the migrants and the other towards local poor people.

Czerny said applying such a principle to international aid might make sure “the arriving poor and the local poor would be equally eligible for much-needed assistance in terms of food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, communication, security and development.”

“So-called ‘emergency’ funds will in fact move ‘beyond emergencies’ if they obey the sound principle of justice, transparency and good sense of the 50-50 approach,” Czerny suggested.
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About the author:
Joshua J. McElwee is Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. This article has been published by The Vatican Insider 30/6/2017

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