Archbishop Vegliò's Address to Conference of US Bishops

"But What Can I Do for You?"

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 31, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the opening address that Archbishop Antonio Maria Vegliò, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, will give Wednesday at the Regional Consultation on Migration of the U.S. episcopal conference, to be held June 2-4 in Washington, D.C.



The theme of the conference will be "Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice."

* * *

But what can I do for you?

I am grateful for having the opportunity to speak during this Conference. It will be done with a different accent, an Italian one and most probably with a Vatican undertone. However, the USA is used to hearing different accents. It is part of its characteristics as a melting pot.

To accompany people who were forced to move and are now far from home is highly demanding. It demands to remain sensitive and alert to their situation. Many priests, religious, and lay people are engaged in this challenging apostolate. I would like to acknowledge their work and I want to express my gratitude for their commitment, dedication and professionalism.

1. Introduction: Everyone has a face

Migration is from every time. The causes are different and can be socio-economic, conflicts or persecution and human rights violations. It results in voluntary and forced migration. Migrants and refugees. In addition, we are encountering climate induced displacement and people who get trafficked. The result is that people move from their homes, and end up elsewhere. This can be in their own country or abroad. It also leads to individual suffering.

This has already been described in 1939 by Erich Maria Remarque. He wrote about the fate of refugees from Germany who were not welcome in neighbouring countries. Kern, the main person in a book[1], is arrested and ends up in a Swiss court.

Next morning Kern was brought before the District Court. The judge was a stout middle-aged man with a round red face. He was humane, but he could not help Kern. The law was clear: "It is my duty to sentence you. The minimum punishment is fourteen days in prison. That is the law. We have to protect our country from being flooded with refugees".

Kern answered: "What is there for us to do except break the law?"

The judge was silent for a while: "Hasn't the League of Nations done anything for you yet? "But you'll have to get papers of some sort," he said finally. "After all there are many thousands of you; and you have to be allowed to live somehow".

Kern replied: "Each country is trying to dump us on some other country. And so in all probability it will go on for a number of years."...

"But my God"! said the judge suddenly and helplessly in his soft, broad Swiss dialect. "That's a terrific problem. What's to become of all of you"?

"I do not know. The more important thing is: What is to happen to me now?"

The judge ran his hand over his face and looked at Kern. "I have a son," he said, "who is just about as old as you. If I were to picture him being hunted from place to place without for no other reason than that he had been born..."

"I have a father", Kern replied. "If you were to see him...". He glanced out the window. The autumn sun was shining peacefully on an apple tree in full fruit. Out there was freedom. Out there was Ruth.

"I should like to ask you a question", the judge said a few moments later. "It has no bearing on your case. But I should like to ask it nevertheless. Do you still believe in anything at all?"

"O yes, I believe in holy egoism! In heartlessness! In lies! In hardness of heart!"

"That is what I feared. But what else could one expect?"

"That is not all" Kern replied calmly; "I also belief in kindness and comradeship, in love and helpfulness. I have run into them more often perhaps than many people who have had an easy time."

The judge got up and walked heavily around his chair to face Kern. "It is good to hear that," he murmured. "If I only knew, what I could do for you".

We are seventy years later. But that same question remains valid. If only I know what I could do for you. That should also be the fundamental question for us.

What can I do for you? And in addition also how to do it? What will be my behaviour? From which kind of inspiration will I act? What is our message of hope?

Migrants, refugees and trafficked people are persons like you and me, human beings, ordinary people. Persons who are known by names by their loved ones, whose faces are familiar to those in their neighbourhood. Persons with dreams and expectations, with fear and disappointments. There is one difference ... their circumstances are different. They have to flee their homes because of persecution, mere survival or trying to make a living for themselves and their family. Now they face certain problems which should be addressed.
The starting point for ministering to migrants, refugees, trafficked persons is to understand their situation and all its components, personal, social, economic, political in the light of God's Word and to recognize its commitment to get involved. Naturally it also has to address those factors that cause their uprootedness. In this commitment the Church is guided by the "permanent principles" of its "social doctrine [that] constitute the very heart of Catholic social teaching. These are the principles of the dignity of the human person [...] which is the foundation of all the other principles and content of the Church's social doctrine: the common good, subsidiary and solidarity".[2]

We are invited to witness His Message, a message of hope for people, body and soul, the Good News in all situations and for the whole range of life. This also means to restructure our efforts each time anew to answer adequately the new challenges.

As Pope John Paul remarked: "One can never say too often that "pastoral policies will have to be revised, so that each particular Church can offer the faithful more personalized religious care, strengthen the structures of communion and mission".[3] Pastoral care of forced migrants means welcome, respect, protection, promotion and genuine love of every person in his or her religious and cultural expressions.

2. Migrants

A knock on the door and.... there are people seeking employment. The result is that 38 million immigrants are living in the USA. Indeed, the USA has been shaped by the efforts of migrants, in former days but also nowadays. Many immigrants arrive to the U.S. with economic goals, expectations and their contribution. Migrants have become essential for the US economy. They make up a large part of the national workforce.

The numbers already indicate that society as such has changed. Employment of foreign born people is at one of the highest in the last hundred years.[4] Changes are visible all over, from a rapid increase of Spanish spoken in Churches, the pastoral work depending increasingly on foreign priests, till a concentration of ethnic restaurants in a suburb.
But this are just the external signs of a changing society. However, it seems that these changes do not reflect an increased acceptance of "otherness" and a willingness to a mutual - reciprocal change. A change in the person arriving, but also a modification in the receiving society. The process of integration will influence both parties. However, most probably, different symptoms are appearing. Studies exist which describe the US society as one of "inequality and racism" with "a fundamental tension between 'American' and 'Latino' identities".[5]

Integration has been hindered "by rising anti-immigrant sentiment, repressive immigration enforcement, and the negative framing of Latinos as threatening and undesirable".[6] Indications which call for a serious reflection on what is happening in society.

The influence of migration on the sending country is also visible and considerable. Remittances, though they have decreased during the economic crisis, are received by families at home, and will combat poverty. They are used for housing, nutrition, health care, education, but also to buy consumer goods. They boost the local economy. The amount of remittances is still huge, twice the amount of the official development assistance.[7]

However, one could also raise the question how remittances affect the lives of those who stay behind. Will it create a kind of dependency syndrome, or even more worrying will it affect relationships in the community by widening differences? Those people who will have access to certain goods and services, because they are supported, while others have to continue to live on local means.

Another observation is that it could lead to a further chain migration, whereby the country of origin is even more affected by a ongoing departure of a part of their population.

3. Undocumented migrants

A knock on the door and.... immigration agents are entering a house. Anybody without appropriate documents will be arrested. How will it affect the children who are not at home?

Some of these undocumented just overstayed their tourist visa. Others were smuggled in with high risks involved, sometimes through more than one country. Many have been living in the country for years. Working and contributing to the economy and the social security system.[8] Their deportation may result in the disruption of the family since some other members of the family may be legally resident. Deportations are occurring daily. Statistics show that the numbers surpassed 350,000 persons in 2008.[9] One of the not foreseen results in Central America has been the increase of gang-based violence by youngsters.[10]

All of us are aware of the multitude of other problems they face. Whether it is the uncertainty about their future with its related stress, the dependency on low-paid and insecure jobs - with the risk of being exploited -, or the problems concerning driving licenses. However, we should not forget that "his irregular legal status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights, which can neither be violated nor ignored".[11]

One specific problem is affecting their children. Youngsters raised in the USA, the only country they really know. They see their future threatened, not being able to continue their studies. I am of course aware of the advocacy efforts of the Church concerning the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would provide them with financial assistance for their studies and a possibility in the future to obtain citizenship.

In addition, I follow with more than usual interest and admiration the courageous advocacy efforts of the USA Church for the regularisation of the approximately 12 million undocumented migrants. Their existence will thus be recognized. However, should this also not be linked with a immigration reform which takes into account the demands of the labour market, and especially the continuing need for low-skilled workers? One also has to realize that not workers will arrive, but human persons, with all its consequences, like living with their families.
In order to achieve this, the necessary political will is required to address humanely undocumented migration.

4. Refugees

A knock on the door and.... the possibility exists to start a new life.
The USA has generously welcomed numerous refugees. Over the last thirty years more than 2 million refugees were allowed to settle, spontaneously or in a resettlement process.[12] They were offered protection and the promise of a new life. Each year a ceiling of refugee admissions will be determined. In the fiscal years 2008 and 2009 stood at 80,000.[13] The number of refugees who arrived were actually 60,107 and 74,602.

However, one has to realize that their backgrounds are quite different. Some were assisting American troops by offering translation facilities, others were university graduated. However, there were also individuals who were almost illiterate and could hardly speak the language. Quite a few come straight from refugee camps where they had stayed for years and where their children were born. They do not even know any other world aside from the camp, and hardly had any previous working experience in a competitive world. Others were from the rural area and ended up in the urban setting.

In addition, quite a number had experienced violent experiences and are traumatised or depressed. It should not come as a surprise that it is difficult for them to become accustomed to their new life, and that finding work in time difficult remains.

The Reception and Placement Programmes of the Department of State supports them for a relatively short time, with a one-time grant. One has to remark that the level was frozen in the eighties, resulting in the loss of purchasing power. In addition, they receive support up to eight months, which amount recently was increased. After this period they are considered to have become sufficiently integrated to take care of themselves and be self-sufficient.[14] It is more than evident that this does not work. They lack sufficient support. Many end up with hardly any money left after paying their rent and will join the American poor and end up in the same situation. They will most probably depend on charities and churches to survive, but also end up in centres for the homeless. This is not exactly in line with the sustainability[15] of the durable solutions (voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement) of UNHCR.

One has to note that the process of resettlement cannot be the same for each individual or for each community. In order to be realistic, one has to take into account the unique needs and experiences of the individual, which will result in different programmes, also with a request for a different and, most probably, a longer period of support. This should lead to self-sufficiency, employment and in the end integration in the country to become participants in society.

A lot of efforts were undertaken to increase admissions in the United States, especially during the time after September 11th, 2001 when numbers fell down to 28,000 admissions a year. But do we sufficiently realize what happens to people once they have entered[16] the country?

5. Trafficking in human beings

A knock on the door and.... an employer is confronted with his abusive behaviour concerning his employees.

This is a result of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which was introduced in 2000. This law provides for taking economic sanctions on countries that do not take effective measures to combat trafficking, based on the annual report[17] of the Department of State. One has to remark that almost every country is confronted with trafficking problems, whether it is sexual exploitation, forced labour or bonded labour, child soldiers, or abusive ways of adoption. These persons have been deceived about the goals of their future activities and are no longer free to decide about their lives. They end up in slavery-like situations or servitude from which it is very difficult to escape. Threats and violence are used to obtain this. The root causes of trafficking are not just poverty and unemployment in developing countries. The demand for cheap labour, low priced products or "exotic or unusual sex" is also a root cause of trafficking than must be addressed.
The different forms of trafficking constitute human rights violations, which demand distinct approaches and measures in order to restore the dignity of the victims.

The Holy See has stated that all efforts to tackle criminal activities and to protect the victims trafficking should include "both men and women and place human rights at the centre of all strategies"[18], while "trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation must be clearly distinguished from irregular migration. We must ensure that victims have access to justice, social and legal assistance and compensation for damages that they have suffered".[19]

Victims of trafficking in the USA are protected. The law also foresees the possibility to obtain a staying permit for the victim, the so-called T-visa, which will adjust their status. Studies indicate that most cases in the USA are linked to forced labour. The "sweatshops"[20] are back. Exploitative labour situations have re-emerged in developed countries, which use "labour practices that are contrary to the most rudimentary principles of respect for human rights at work".[21] According to ILO estimates, "Latin America accounts for the second largest number of forced labourers in the world after Asia", while "forced labour in Latin America is closely linked to patterns of inequality and discrimination, particularly against indigenous peoples".[22]

Preventive measures are made up of the implementation of anti-trafficking laws, the adoption of labour laws and the regulation of employment conditions, and consequently their enforcement. Moreover, governments should develop programmes to address landlessness and extreme dependency, while labour unions and NGOs should collaborate to guarantee labour rights and standards and to get the support of public opinion.

A special responsibility rests with the consumer. He/she should be aware of conditions under which products are cultivated or manufactured. The introduction of trade labels and codes of conduct could strengthen decent labour conditions. In this regard, the responsibility of supermarket chains should not be forgotten. In the end, it means that some products will become more expensive.
I recognize what is already done by Church organizations. Initiatives like the Catholic Coalition against human trafficking in the United States, the International Network of Religious against Trafficking in Persons, a Brazilian network of women religious congregations "Un grido por la vida", the Pastoral Letter of the Canadian Bishops,[23] and most probably many more initiatives not known to me. We should realize that the work already done has to be integrated into the activities of the dioceses and that it should become a responsibility of each local Church to be involved.

6. Climate change-induced displacement

A knock on the door and.... people are asking for a place of protection.
A new form of displacement is on its way, in fact it is already happening around us.

People are moving away, since they can no longer make a living as a results of desertification and growing water scarcity, increasing sea-levels and "salinisation" of agricultural land. Climate change is also increasingly causing natural disasters, like flooding and storms. As a result conflicts about resources increase.

This new form of displacement will have enormous consequences for decades to come. The frequently cited and accepted estimates of 200 million [24] climate induced displaced persons by 2050 indicate the gigantic dimension of the problem. Human migration will undoubtedly be one of the most significant consequences of the change in climate.
At present, the world is hardly prepared for what this will mean for people forced to move, nor where the responsibilities lie. Some will be covered by the Refugee Convention, others could be dealt with under the Stateless Conventions, while for others the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement could be applied. However, no legal provisions are at present in place to address this new challenge.

As the Holy See stated during the 2008 Executive Committee Meeting of UNHCR: "Many of them do not fit the typology of refugees or migrant workers, but the international community cannot ignore their plight nor can it deny the ethical obligation to extend protection to them" [...] "The question then to be addressed is of how to start a process to formalize ways and means for the protection of the millions of persons at the centre of the continuum: the responsibility to protect them; providing assistance for immediate survival; criteria for their acceptance in other places; the structures of coordination".[25]

In the mean time the Secretary-General has made climate change and its consequences a system-wide priority, since it is evident that the United Nations certainly has a role to play.

7. Church and Church related organisations

A knock on my door and.... they are waiting for my answer.
We all are already involved. As Church and dioceses we promote programmes of support for integration and full access to equal rights in civil life, we run programmes on houses, education, access to the labour market, we have set up counselling services, legal assistance programmes, adapted pastoral structures, we support leadership training and immigrant associations. Exchanges exist between countries of origin and destination, like this conference. Do we still have to do more?

The risk exists that we are so much taken up by our involvement that we just perceive those in migration as work, cases or a job.

Hospitality can protect us from such behaviour. Hospitality is not so much a task as a way of living our lives and of sharing. Offering hospitality grows out of our effort to be faithful to God, to hear God's voice in the Scriptures and in the people around us. It is one of the central themes in Christianity from the early church onwards. Welcome, compassion and equal treatment are all part of an appropriate Christian response, which will break down social barriers. It is a response to the needs of persons, but also a recognition of their worth and common humanity.

In hospitality, the foreigner is welcomed into a safe, personal, and comfortable place, a place of respect and acceptance and friendship. Even if only briefly, the stranger is included in a life-giving and life-sustaining network of relations. It requires an openness of heart, a willingness to make one's life visible to others, and a generosity of time and resources. Closeness forged in hospitality contradicts contemporary messages about who is valuable and 'good to be with', who can 'give life to others'. This will make both of us, the guest and the host, richer persons, more humane. I did not state that giving hospitality is easy, in fact it is difficult and demanding, and sometimes even uncomfortable.

But it will keep us connected to the individual, and open-minded for the new challenges which always will be on our way. I want to emphasize one of them: coherent policies.

The different forms of migration and its multi-dimensional aspects are directly linked to and influenced by other policies, like trade and finance, security, foreign affairs and agriculture. However, their effects and consequences are often not taken sufficiently into account when formulating these policies. It is obvious that these policies contradict one another, and contribute to uprooting people. Migration policies, the individual people involved and countries in the South would like to see coherent policies, which examine proposed policies with their effects on the push and pull factors of migration. Migration objectives should be reconciled with these other objectives, whereby people-centred policies should be promoted.

Similar points have been highlighted by Pope Benedict XVI in a letter to Chancellor Merkel, in which he asked for "trade conditions favourable to poor countries", "the total and unconditional cancellation of the external debt of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and of the Least Developed Countries", that "developed countries must also recognize and implement fully the commitments they have made with regard to external aid", and "continue to work for the substantial reduction of both the legal and the illegal arms trade, the illegal trade of precious raw materials, and the flight of capital from poor countries".[26] Though written three years ago, it is more than worthwhile for a deeper reflection. It presents us with a sobering thought and an agenda to work on. In an address a few weeks ago, he stated: "Rather than a spiral of production and consumption in view of narrowly-defined human needs, economic life should properly be seen as an exercise of human responsibility, intrinsically oriented towards the promotion of the dignity of the person, the pursuit of the common good and the integral development – political, cultural and spiritual – of individuals, families and societies".[27]

8. Conclusion

What is most fundamental is the courage not to turn away from the eyes of the poor but to allow them to break our heart and shatter our world. To let them share with us how their children fear and suffer from acts of violence, how it feels to live together for years in a crowded refugee camp under a plastic sheet without hope for a decent life, how it hurts to be dehumanized and not to be seen as a human being, but as a number or a 'vulnerable'. What is necessary to offer them perspective for the future? In concrete ways the Church in many countries is trying to answer this. Your efforts and activities are illustrations of this. Pope Benedict XVI inspires, motivates and questions us when he said: "Anyone nourished with the faith of Christ at the Eucharistic Table assimilates his same style of life, which is the style of service especially attentive to the weakest and most underprivileged persons. In fact, practical charity is a criterion that proves the authenticity of our liturgical celebrations".[28]

--- --- ---

Notes

[1] Erich Maria REMARQUE, Flotsam, Little, Brown and Co, Boston 1941, reprinted by Simon Publications, Safety Harbor, 2001, p. 282 - 284.

[2] Pontifical Council "Justice and Peace", Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church , n. 160; cfr. EMCC 28 -30: AAS 776 - 777; cfr. EMCC, Note 7: AAS 767: Cfr. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, Proemio, 22, 30-32: AAS LVIII (1966) 1025-1027; 1042-1044; 1049-1051; Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, 1, 7 and 13; AAS LVII (1965) 5, 9-11, 17-18; Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity Apostolicam Actuositatem, 14: AAS LVIII (1966) 850ff.; Pope John XXIII, Encyclical Pacem in Terris, Part I: AAS LV (1963) 259-269; Pontifical Council Cor Unum and Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Refugees, a Challenge to Solidarity: EV 13 (1991-1993) 1019-1037.

[3] Address of John Paul II to the Bishops of Brazil's Southern Region II on Their "Ad Limina" Visit, 31 August 2002, O.R. Weekly Edition in English, 11 September 2002, p. 3-4; cfr. EMCC n. 39 and 100, AAS 783, 810-811, Ecclesia in America, 73.

[4] Ruth Ellen WASEM, Immigration Reform Issues in the 111th Congress: Congressional Research Service, 2010/2, p. 3, http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/R40501_20100202.pdf

[5] Douglas MASSEY and Magaly SÁNCHEZ R., Restrictive Immigration Policies and Latino Immigrant Identity in the United States, UNDP, Human Development Reports, Research Paper No. 43, 2009, p 15.

[6] Cfr. Ibid., p. 16.

[7] Cfr. ILO, International labour migration. A rights-based approach, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2010, p. 41-43.

[8] It has been estimated that workers in irregular status in the United States contribute close to US$6–7 billion to the social security system without receiving any benefits. One estimate shows that about 3.8 million households headed by workers in irregular status generated $6.4 billion in social security taxes in 2002. Cfr. ILO, International labour migration. A rights-based approach, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2010, p. 110.

[9] Cfr. UNDP, Human Development Report 2009. Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2009, p. 99.

[10] Cfr. Ibid., p. 79.

[11] JOHN PAUL II, Message for World Migration Day, 1996, N. 2.
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/migration/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_25071995_undocumented_migrants_en.html

[12] "Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed to admit them – as refugees - with permanent residence status. The status provided should ensure protection against refoulement and provide a resettled refugee and his/her family or dependants with access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights similar to those enjoyed by nationals. It should also carry with it the opportunity to eventually become a naturalized citizen of the resettlement country". (UNHCR, Department of International Protection, Resettlement Handbook, Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2004, p. 10).

[13] U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Office of Immigration Statistics, Annual Flow Report. Refugees and Asylees 2009, 2010, http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_rfa_fr_2009.pdf

[14] "Self-reliance is the social and economic ability of an individual, a household or a community to meet essential needs (including protection, food, water, shelter, personal safety, health and education) in a sustainable manner and with dignity. Self-reliance, as a programme approach, refers to developing and strengthening livelihoods of persons of concern, and reducing their vulnerability and long-term reliance on humanitarian/external assistance". (UNHCR, Reintegration and Local Settlement Section Division of Operational Support UNHCR, Handbook for self-reliance, Geneva, 2005, p. 1).

[15] "It should be recalled that self-reliance is promoted by UNHCR at all times, and provides the basis for any of the three durable solutions". (UNHCR, Department of International Protection, Resettlement Handbook, Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2004, p. 113).

[16] For further reading: Shani ADESS and others, Refugee crisis in America: Iraqis and their resettlement experience, Human Rights Institute, Georgetown University Law Center, 2009.

[17] U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2009.

[18] Intervention by the Holy See, Vienna Forum on the Fight Against "Trafficking in Human Beings", Vienna, 13-15 February 2008, O.R. Weekly Edition in English, 12 March 2008, p. 9-10, (People on the Move, No. 102 (Suppl.).

[19] Intervention by the Holy See at the 15th OSCE Ministerial Council, Madrid, 29-30 November 2007, O.R., 5 December 2007, p. 1.

[20] "a business that regularly violates both wage or child labour and safety or health laws". "On a world scale, in regard to pay, a sweatshop is a place where workers are paid below the local minimum wage or where, at that wage, they are unable to meet their basic needs". ROBERT J.S. ROSS, Slaves to fashion. Poverty and abuse in the new sweatshops, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 2004, p. 26 and p. 41.

[21] ILO, International labour migration. A rights-based approach, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2010, p. 90-91.

[22] ILO, The cost of coercion. Global Report under the follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, International Labour Conference, 98th Session 2009, Report I(B), 2009, Geneva, p. 19-20.

[23] EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE - CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS, Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking, January 27, 2010.
http://www.cccb.ca/site/content/view/2752/lang,eng/

[24] Norman MYERS, 'Environmental Refugees: An emergent security issue', 13th Economic Forum, May 2005, Prague. www.osce.org/documents/eea/2005/05/14488_en.pdf

[25] Intervention of the Holy See at the 59th General Session of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, 7 October 2008.
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/2008/documents/rc_seg-st_20081007_unhcr_en.html

[26] BENEDICT XVI, Letter to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel, about the Summit of the G8 and the Answer of the Chancellor to the Holy Father, signed 16 December 2006, O.R. Weekly Edition in English, 2 May 2007, p. 4. The Holy See has repeatedly insisted that, while the Governments of poorer countries have a responsibility with regard to good governance and the elimination of poverty, the active involvement of international partners is indispensable. This should not be seen as an "extra" or as a concession which could be postponed in the face of pressing national concerns. It is a grave and unconditional moral responsibility, founded on the unity of the human race, and on the common dignity and shared destiny of rich and poor alike, who are being drawn ever closer by the process of globalization. Trade conditions favourable to poor countries, including, above all, broad and unconditional access to markets, should be made available and guaranteed in lasting and reliable ways. Provision must also be made for the rapid, total and unconditional cancellation of the external debt of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Measures should also be adopted to ensure that these countries do not fall once again into situations of unsustainable debt. Developed countries must also recognize and implement fully the commitments they have made with regard to external aid. Moreover, a substantial investment of resources for research and for the development of medicines to treat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other tropical diseases is needed. In this regard, the first and foremost scientific challenge facing developed countries is the discovery of a vaccine against malaria. There is also a need to make available medical and pharmaceutical technology and health care expertise without imposing legal or economic conditions. Finally, the international community must continue to work for the substantial reduction of both the legal and the illegal arms trade, the illegal trade of precious raw materials, and the flight of capital from poor countries, as well as for the elimination of the practices of money-laundering and corruption of officials of poor countries.

[27] BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Participants in the 16th Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, 30 April 2010.
http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/25474.php?index=25474&po_date=30.04.2010⟨=en

[28] BENEDICT XVI, Angelus, 19 June 2005, O.R. Weekly Edition in English, 22 June 2005, p. 1.