Pope Francis has issued a 20-point action plan to governments on refugees and migrants to try to galvanise their response to an issue seen by the Vatican as one of the biggest global challenges of the 21st century.
His intention is to lay the ground for the drafting of two global compacts on refugees and migration, which are expected to be adopted at the UN general assembly in September 2018.
The roadmap was published on Monday by the Vatican’s migrants and refugees section, which was set up by Francis last year and operates under his direction. The action points were personally approved by the pontiff.
In a message issued before publication, Francis said he had “repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty”. The situation was “undoubtedly a ‘sign of the times’,” he said.
The document, Responding to Refugees and Migrants: Twenty Action Points, says the world is facing “the largest movement of displaced people in recent memory”.
It says: “While massive numbers of people have been forced to leave their homes due to persecution, violence, natural disasters and the scourge of poverty, migration should nevertheless be recognised, not as a new phenomenon, but rather as a natural human response to crisis and a testament to the innate desire of every human being for happiness and a better life.
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