Protecting Refugees is More Important Than Protecting Borders
We are living in a particularly dramatic international situation, in which the violence of terrorism strikes innocent civilians. The aim of this kind of terrorism is to make us all feel under siege and at the mercy of an enemy that takes the form of a ghost. Within this international climate, fear and suspicion multiply barriers and walls between us as different peoples. These barriers are imaginary and real. These are walls which increasingly exclude refugees who are the direct targets and victims of the violence and terrorism.
Like never before, tens of millions of people are being forced to flee from serious humanitarian crises. They are escaping new conflicts, new wars, as well as wars that have been raging for decades without resolve.
To break this cycle of violence, it is necessary to focus on human beings: their dignity, their sanctity and the values of the common good.
One cannot escape the fear of this crisis alone.
Therefore, we ask Europe to make sure that all the citizens of the Union are able to listen to the cry of a wounded humanity and to actively and urgently take steps to promote peace at all levels.
We seek to create a Europe that has the courage to create safe, humanitarian channels to save rather than shun the refugees from wars, desert and sea deaths. We seek to create a Europe that has the courage to save these human being rather than profit from their desperation.
We seek to create a Europe that is not a sum of the interests of individual countries, but a common project of human development that is founded on shared values.
In Italy especially, there is a need to face the complex challenges of our time—taking the long view instead of working, always, from a crisis mode or the logic of an emergency.
There remains an urgent and widespread need, to create an ethic of welcome, proportionate to the the real needs of those who come to seek protection .
More necessary still, is participatory planning and innovation that will be able to offer solutions aimed at sustainable integration. These solutions are necessary in order to enhance the contribution that each [refugee] can give.
Welcoming refugees can be an opportunity to to imagine new paths together. Together we can build a more complete democracy, a more just society, and a better country.
- Knowledge. The information we receive about the refugee crisis often gives an incomplete picture of the international affairs, especially immigration issues. It is very often simplistic and at worst partially or entirely manipulated. What are my sources of information about immigration issues? What is the depth of these sources?
- Participation. As it relates to the refugee crisis, we should not delegate responsibility, but rather everyone must feel responsible for each in order to build a cohesive and civil community. At what level do I feel this responsibility?
- Dialogue. In a complex context, problem solving and conflict solving often arises at all levels of dialogue. Genuine dialogue is not an end in itself, but rather, a real environment for people of cultures and religions to come together. This is not easy, especially in times when conflict is not only looked for, but also fueled. How do I place myself in to this kind of dialogue? How do I feel about this kind of dialogue? Which opportunities do I have to put genuine dialogue into practice?
Camillo Ripamonti S.J.
President, Centro Astalli
About Centro Astalli
Centro Astalli is the seat of the Italian Jesuit Service for Refugees – JRS. For over thirty years, it has been involved in many activities and services benefitting refugees and migrants.
The Centro Astalli Foundation was founded in 2000, and its main objective is to help promote a culture of welcome and solidarity as to secure the protection of human rights.
The Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic organization, active in over 40 countries, whose mission is to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and displaced persons.
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