Migramed 2017 “Share the journey”

Migramed 2017, Caritas’ annual meeting on migration in the Mediterranean area was held in Jordan from 14 to 17 November. Its objective was to recognize the country’s crucial role in the Middle East in relation to the ongoing regional crisis, the assistance given to refugees and the acknowledgment of the importance of upholding basic and essential human rights.

Caritas Jordan performs its mission consistently alongside the weaker ones working globally for peace. Migramed raises the voice for a shout of fatigue that the whole Middle East and North Africa region raises in order to push the whole Church to be at the forefront of peace and the promotion of human rights.

This is an effort that today has to deal with a historical, social and political context in which the principles on which we have imagined to inspire “humanitarian” action towards migrants have been questioned. Regretfully, solidarity is increasingly perceived as a negative value and at the same time, the choices of some European governments to keep away migrants are welcomed despite being often adopted in open violation of human rights. The most tragic example is the EU-Lybia cooperation on migration management which leads to inhumane treatment for migrant as the Jordan UN Commissioner for Human Rights denounced this week. As Pope Francis reminds us, it is a hardship that shows the limits of the peace process in the Mediterranean, the obstacles faced by the concrete application of the universality of human rights, and the walls that crush the integral humanism which constitutes one of the most important pillars in our civilization.

Trying to broaden our eyesight means firstly developing proposals that can focus on people and their dignity, subtracting them from those who speculate on their destiny before, during and after the journey. Pope Francis has invited everyone to live out a ‘culture of encounter’ to bring migrants, refugees and local communities closer together. Following Pope Francis’ invitation, Caritas launched a global campaign on migration, ‘Share the Journey’, to create new opportunities for people to meet and have an exchange to learn more about migration and how this affects people’s life with a view to building more cohesive societies. The civil society is increasingly focusing on statistics, walls, blocks and borders without considering that there are human beings who remain on the other side.

The Middle East and North Africa, battered and tired after so many conflicts, which are even difficult to count, claims the right to demand that the universal Church join in a loud voice to achieve peace.

Therefore, Migramed 2017 in Jordan recommends in particular:

  • PEACE: Peace is the only sustainable solution in a context that for many years was afflicted by crisis and wars. In the Middle East and the Mediterranean, we are renewing a commitment to peace from our national and international organizations; and we ask governments, European Union and United Nations to support peace processes founded on human rights and dignity.
  • LEGAL AND SAFE PATHWAYS: Extending access to humanitarian channels, legal and safe ways to reach In third countries, we ask to streamline the access to procedures in embassies belonging to EU countries. Extending humanitarian aid programs through greater involvement of all EU countries and investing decisively in resettlement programs.
  • HUMAN RIGHTS: Starting from the bilateral agreements that European States sign with the migration transit countries, any policy implemented in the Mediterranean have to care about the respect for human rights: first of all, the right to life, supporting search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean; the right to a decent socio-economic condition for migrants living below the poverty line; the right to freedom of movement specially for those fleeing from war situations to seek asylum in safe countries.
  • THE RIGHT TO STAY IN EACH OWN COUNTRY: Ensuring the opportunity for everyone to live a dignified life in the country of origin creating the conditions for sustainable development in Africa and the Middle East where there is not a lack of resources but often economic, political and financial interests prevail over people and peoples. Using development aid to improve people’s lives and fight poverty instead of instrumentalizing it to stop migration.