Holy See: Development Should be Inclusive

Defends Rights of Undocumented Migrants

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, JULY 10, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Authentic development must be all-encompassing, said the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers.



Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, said this today at the 1st Global Forum on Migration and Development, a three-day meeting that began Monday in Brussels.

Development "must include each person and the whole person, that is, it must be all encompassing, holistic," because human persons are at the center of creation and "gifted with innate dignity and equal and inalienable rights," the archbishop said.

"Whenever the moral, cultural, spiritual and religious needs of individuals and communities are not respected, material well-being will end up being unsatisfying," added the head of the Holy See's delegation.

The meeting aims to build a platform for the exchange of know-how and experiences, which is able to see the positive impact of migration on development and to identify methods of reinforcing cooperation among the various peoples involved.

Home countries

Archbishop Marchetto said that migration speaks of "the right to live in peace and dignity in one's own country," such that "the countries of origin have the serious responsibility to work toward increasing their own development, so that their citizens are not forced to leave the country to search for a better life abroad."

Support of the migrant's family, he added, is essential when emigrants are far from home, so that "families do not have to be dispersed and weakened, leaving fellow family members in a vulnerable state, especially women and children."

"From another point of view, migration is also caused by the request, in industrialized countries, of services rendered by migrants, a consequence of globalization," the 66-year-old prelate said.

Because migrants contribute "to the well-being of the country of welcome and, because of their human dignity, they must be respected and assured of their freedom," Archbishop Marchetto affirmed.

But at the same time, he said, "migrants have the responsibility to respect the identity and laws of the country of residence, to work for a just integration -- not assimilation -- in the society of welcome and to learn the language."

Concluding his discourse, Archbishop Marchetto launched an appeal to governments to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. To date 37 countries have already ratified the convention, while 15 others have signed it. It took effect July 2003.