venerdì 9 dicembre 2016

Refugees. Open letter to the EU Commissioner Avramopoulos

Dear Commissioner,

We are writing on behalf of the Agency Habeshia which, as you may know, deals with the tragedy of the refugees and migrants and that, therefore, would like to see You, Sir, as an ally in the difficult path intended to ensure freedom, dignity and security to millions of people forced to abandon their land.
Let's start with one of the last, dramatic pleas for help. Certainly You know the UN report that, just a few weeks ago, reported over 400,000 children as victims of famine in Nigeria, because of the situation caused by Boko Haram  militia fundamentalists. Indeed, according to UNICEF, 75,000 are likely to die of starvation in the coming months, at a rate of 200 a day. Not to mention the killings, kidnappings, looting investing entire villages, bombings, massacres and the northern part the country fallen for years under the direct control of ISIS faithful fundamentalists. So figures don’t end up if we think back to Your statement, disseminated by all European media, affirming that there is no need to change the criteria of the nationalities of refugees to be accepted and "relocated" in any of the EU states.

"If we compare Italy and Greece, we see that up to 80 percent of migrants crossing the Aegean Sea are refugees, while the majority of those arriving in Italy from the central Mediterranean, in this case 80 percent, are irregular. We do not intend to change the criteria ... ": this is the declaration which Press attributed to You, in response to those who asked if You were thinking of few changes for Nationalities to redistribute, because in Italy there are no "Syrians and Eritreans enough". Yet this idea of ​​nationality as "a priori requirement" seems nothing short of absurd. At least because - you know it well - according to International law and the Geneva Convention, asylum applications should be examined case by case, listening to the stories of each individual and not, however, carried out according to criteria of "national belonging", as unfortunately we are now doing, accommodating only those fleeing from the war-torn Syria or from Eritrea  enslaved by the dictatorship of an authoritarian regime.
If you really want, however, we might speak well of nations and countries. We spoke of Nigeria, where thousands of people whose alternative is to die under the blows of Boko Haram or hunger. Let's go further: for example, let us think of South Sudan. Again, You, Sir, are too well informed, for the role you play, not to know that a civil war has been ravaging the country for three years, causing at least 10,000 dead and 3 million refugees, threatening to turn into a real genocide, with the warring factions ready to kill and to massacre by ethnicity, following the perverse logic of ethnic cleansing. A UN report published in early December denounces it, in addition to the now "usual" corollary of killings, abductions, villages looted and set on fire, raids even in places like refugee camps under UNHCR's insignia. Not to mention the "famine": apart from climate change and drought, at least two years have passed with no sowings because of war and, therefore, there are no crops to satisfy at least part of the nutritional requirements of the population.

So, what is about? Those fleeing from this hell should not be accepted in Europe as  refugees?

But the list of situations like this is very long. Somalia has imploded, and in the throes of a civil war, with the militants of Al Shabaab, affiliated to Al Qaeda, who make an average score of more than 900 attacks a year, with hundreds, thousands of deaths and, again, a drought and a famine investing millions of men and women. Or Mali where, contrary to what they keep saying in Europe, the war, exploded with the revolt of 2012 in the northern regions, the so-called Azawad, never ended, as evidenced by the long chain of daily attacks, bombings, ambushes, killings. The ordeal of Darfur, the war-torn region of Sudan that has been knowing no peace for years and feeding, in fact, a steady stream of refugees who see in flight the only way of salvation from all kinds of violence perpetrated by the police in the Al Bashir regime, the famous "devils on horseback". Yemen, overwhelmed by the war between Shiites and Sunnis: here thousands of deaths and millions of refugees or displaced and desperate people are driven from their homes and their cities even by bombs and weapons that Europe (and Italy in particular) is selling, together with Member States, to one of the warring factions. Or, again, Gambia, subjugated for years by a brutal dictatorship, which we hope has been truly banished from the elections a few days ago. Or the Central African Republic. Or the same Niger, chosen from Europe to make it a big "sorting hub” for refugees, but that seems far from certain, due to the increasing escalation of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram from Nigeria and AQIM jihadis and Isis from Mali, so that in June, the UN coordinator, Fode Ndiaye, has appealed to the international community speaking bluntly of "humanitarian crisis" ...

One could go on - You know, Sir - for who knows how long. Let’s take Afghanistan, for example, where the European Union wants to "repatriate" 80,000 refugees, as if the country had become suddenly "peaceful and safe". Unfortunately, media dont’ speak a lot of these tragedies and the general public knows just a little. But the real tragedy is denounced by the refugees who continue to knock on the doors of Europe, fleeing from Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Gambia and so on: just scroll down the list of nationality of many young people landed in Italy. However, according to Your statements, Sir, it seems that these situations would not be

"sufficient" to open the doors of solidarity in Europe. Not enough to guarantee - as well as rules of International law - help and hospitality.

Why this choice? Habeshia can not explain it. Unless the reason is that these states from which people are forced to flee are largely the very same ones with which European Union has signed a number of treaties to stop the refugees before their arrival on the shores of the Mediterranean. We refer to the processes of Rabat and Khartoum, the agreements signed in Malta in November 2015, the pact with Turkey You exalted and that, in fact, works great as a "barrier" placed across the Aegean: it is a shame that it lets refugees put their neck on the line. Yeah, because agreements and pacts of this kind serve to Europe to outsource its borders even beyond the Sahara or in any case far from the southern Mediterranean, delegating to others the dirty work to supervise these frontiers, and make them uncrossable. And Your statement, Sir, is likely to give now a voice to those who want to raise more barriers of selfishness and indifference and always appeals to a closed-door policy and refusal.

We do hope, as Habeshia, to be proven wrong. But - less than denials, in fact – that is just what emerges from Your words quoted by the media. Words that seem to forget that you leave the house only when the house does not let you any more stay1 ...


Fr. Mussie Zerai, president of Habeshia

Emilio Drudi, Agency spokesman.
Rome, December 8, 2016

1 - Giuseppe Cederna, Home. The subsequent verses say: No one leaves the house unless the house does not cast thee fire under your feet, warm blood in the stomach, something that you never thought of doing, as long as the scythe has marked you the threats neck ...

Profughi. Lettera aperta al commissario Ue Avramopoulos

Gentile commissario,

le scriviamo a nome dell’Agenzia Habeshia che, come forse saprà, si occupa della tragedia dei profughi e dei migranti e che, dunque, vorrebbe vedere in lei un alleato nel difficile cammino teso a dare libertà, dignità e sicurezza ai milioni di persone costrette ad abbandonare la propria terra.

Partiamo da una delle ultime, drammatiche richieste di aiuto. Certamente conoscerà il rapporto dell’Onu che appena poche settimane fa ha denunciato che oltre 400 mila bambini sono vittime della carestia, in Nigeria, a causa della situazione provocata dai miliziani fondamentalisti di Boko Haram. Anzi, secondo l’Unicef, 75 mila rischiano di morire di fame nei prossimi mesi, al ritmo di 200 al giorno. Senza contare le uccisioni, i rapimenti, i saccheggi che investono interi villaggi, gli attentati, le stragi e tutto il nord del paese precipitato da anni sotto il controllo diretto dei fondamentalisti fedeli all’Isis. E allora qualcosa non torna se ripensiamo alle sue dichiarazioni, diffuse da tutti i media europei, secondo cui non occorre cambiare i criteri delle nazionalità dei rifugiati da accogliere e “ricollocare” in qualcuno degli Stati dell’Unione.

“Se confrontiamo Italia e Grecia, vediamo che fino all’80 per cento dei migranti che attraversano l’Egeo sono profughi, mentre la maggioranza di quelli che arrivano in Italia dal Mediterraneo centrale, anche in questo caso l’80 per cento, sono irregolari. Non intendiamo cambiare i criteri…”: questa è la dichiarazione che le ha attribuito la stampa, in risposta a chi le chiedeva se non pensasse a qualche modifica per le nazionalità da ridistribuire, visto che in Italia non ci sono “abbastanza siriani ed eritrei”. Ecco, già questa idea delle nazionalità come “requisito a priori” sembra a dir poco assurda. Se non altro perché – lei lo sa bene – secondo il diritto internazionale e la Convenzione di Ginevra, le richieste di asilo vanno esaminate caso per caso, ascoltando le storie individuali di ciascuno e non, invece, espletate in base a criteri di “appartenenza nazionale” come purtroppo si sta ormai facendo, tanto da accogliere solo coloro che fuggono dalla Siria sconvolta dalla guerra o dall’Eritrea schiavizzata dalla dittatura di un regime autoritario.

Se proprio vuole, tuttavia, parliamo pure di nazioni e paesi. Abbiamo detto della Nigeria, dove per migliaia di persone l’alternativa è morire sotto i colpi di Boko Haram o di fame. Andiamo oltre: ad esempio, prendiamo il Sud Sudan. Anche in questo caso, lei è troppo ben informato, per il ruolo che riveste, per non sapere che la guerra civile che sta devastando il paese da tre anni, tanto da provocare almeno 10 mila morti e 3 milioni di profughi, rischia di trasformarsi in un vero e proprio genocidio, con le fazioni in lotta pronte ad ammazzare e a fare strage in base all’etnia, seguendo la logica perversa della pulizia etnica. Lo denuncia un rapporto dell’Onu pubblicato all’inizio di dicembre, in aggiunta all’ormai “abituale” corollario di uccisioni, rapimenti, villaggi saccheggiati e incendiati, incursioni persino all’interno dei campi profughi posti sotto le insegne dell’Unhcr. Per non dire della “carestia provocata”: già, a parte i cambiamenti climatici e la siccità, da almeno due anni non si fanno più le semine a causa della guerra e, dunque, non ci sono raccolti per soddisfare almeno in parte i bisogni alimentari della popolazione.
Allora, che dire? Chi fugge da questo inferno non deve essere accolto in Europa come rifugiato?

Ma l’elenco di situazioni come questa è lunghissimo. La Somalia implosa e in preda alla guerra civile, con i miliziani di Al Shabaab, affiliata ad Al Qaeda, che mettono a segno una media di oltre 900 attentati l’anno, con centinaia, migliaia di morti e, anche qui, una siccità e una carestia che investono milioni di uomini e donne. Il Mali dove, contrariamente a quanto si continua a dire in Europa, la guerra esplosa con la rivolta del 2012 nelle regioni del nord, il cosiddetto Azawad, non è mai finita, come dimostra la lunga, quotidiana catena di attacchi, attentati, agguati, uccisioni. Il calvario del Darfur, la martoriata regione del Sudan che non conosce pace da anni e che alimenta, appunto, un flusso costante di profughi che vedono nella fuga l’unica via di salvezza dalle violenze di ogni genere perpetrate dalla polizia del regime di Al Bashir, i famosi “diavoli a cavallo”. Lo Yemen, travolto dalla guerra tra sciiti e sunniti: anche qui migliaia di morti e milioni di profughi o sfollati, disperati scacciati dalle loro case e dalle loro città anche dalle bombe e dalle armi che l’Europa (e l’Italia in particolare) vende, insieme agli Stati Uniti, ad una delle fazioni in lotta. O, ancora, il Gambia, soggiogato per anni da una dittatura feroce, che speriamo sia stata davvero scacciata dalle elezioni di qualche giorno fa. O la Repubblica Centrafricana. O lo stesso Niger, scelto dall’Europa per farne un grande “hub” di smistamento per i profughi ma che sembra tutt’altro che sicuro, in seguito alla crescente escalation di attacchi terroristici da parte di Boko Haram dalla Nigeria e di jihadisti di Aqim e dell’Isis dal Mali, tanto che nel giugno scorso il coordinatore delle Nazioni Unite, Fode Ndiaye, si è appellato alla comunità internazionale parlando senza mezzi termini di “crisi umanitaria”…

Si potrebbe continuare – lei lo sa – per chissà quanto ancora. Con l’Afghanistan, ad esempio, dove l’Unione Europea vuole “rimpatriare” 80 mila profughi, come se il paese fosse diventato all’improvviso “pacifico e sicuro”. Purtroppo i media parlano poco di queste tragedie e l’opinione pubblica ne sa poco. Ma che si tratti, appunto, di tragedie lo denunciano i profughi che continuano a bussare alle porte dell’Europa, in fuga dalla Nigeria, dal Sud Sudan, dal Sudan, dalla Somalia, dal Gambia e così via: basta scorrere l’elenco delle nazionalità dei tanti giovani sbarcati in Italia. Però, stando alle sue dichiarazioni, a quanto pare queste situazioni non sarebbero “sufficienti” ad aprire le porte della solidarietà in Europa. Non bastano a garantire – come pure prevede il diritto internazionale – aiuto e accoglienza.
Perché questa scelta? Habeshia non riesce a spiegarselo. A meno che  il motivo non sia che questi Stati da cui si è costretti a fuggire sono in buona parte proprio gli stessi con cui l’Unione Europea ha stretto tutta una serie di trattati per fermare i profughi prima ancora che arrivino alle sponde del Mediterraneo. Ci riferiamo ai Processi di Rabat e Khartoum, agli accordi firmati a Malta nel novembre 2015, al patto con la Turchia da lei esaltato e che, in effetti, funziona benissimo come “barriera” posta al di là dell’Egeo: peccato che funzioni sulla pelle dei profughi. Già, perché accordi e patti di questo genere servono all’Europa per esternalizzare le sue frontiere addirittura al di là del Sahara o comunque lontano dalla sponda meridionale del Mediterraneo, delegando ad altri il lavoro sporco di sorvegliarle, queste frontiere, e renderle invalicabili. E le sue dichiarazioni, ora, rischiano di dare voce ulteriore a chi vuole alzarle ancora di più le barriere dell’egoismo e dell’indifferenza e si appella da sempre a una politica di chiusura e respingimento.

Noi speriamo davvero, come Habeshia, di essere smentiti. Ma – a meno di smentite, appunto – proprio questo emerge dalle sue parole riferite dai media. Parole che sembrano dimenticare che lasci la casa solo quando la casa non ti lascia più stare1Cordiali saluti,
Don Mussie Zerai, presidente dell’Agenzia Habeshia

Emilio Drudi, portavoce dell’Agenzia.

Roma, 8 dicembre 2016

1 – Giuseppe Cederna, Home. I versi successivi dicono: Nessuno lascia la casa a meno che la casa non ti cacci fuoco sotto i piedi, sangue caldo in pancia, qualcosa che non avresti mai pensato di fare, finché la falce non ti ha segnato il collo di minacce…

giovedì 8 dicembre 2016

UNCTAD Trade and Development Board

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva UNCTAD Trade and Development Board Geneva, 5 December 2016 
Mr. President, 
At the outset, the Holy See would like to thank you for your ability to bring all the Member States to a substantive result in achieving the “Nairobi Maafikiano” during the Ministerial Conference. Allow me also to express our appreciation to the Director General and the Secretariat for the preparation of the Trade and Development Board and for the outcome achieved by UNCTAD this year through the approval of its mandate for the next quadrennium. In Nairobi, last July, States were able to discuss and address the contemporary needs and priorities of developing countries in the current volatile and unbalanced global environment. As is also stated in the Nairobi Maafikiano “UNCTAD was established to promote an inclusive global economy, through informing national and international policies, while giving priority consideration for the needs and interests of developing countries. This would lead to better standards of life and create a better and more effective system of international economic cooperation whereby the division of the world into areas of poverty and plenty may be banished and prosperity achieved by all”. 
Throughout history, trade has helped to transform economies, reshaping the division of wealth and power. More recently, advances in technology and in communications allows developing countries to enter international markets through specialization in specific tasks and intermediate products. In addition, the international community has taken steps to make the world trading system more equitable and has expanded World Trade Organization (WTO) membership to include most of the developing countries. The world economy in 2016 is still in a fragile state, with growth likely to dip below the 2.5 per cent registered in 2014 and 2015. The mediocre performance of developed countries since the 2008–2009 economic and financial crisis is predicted to endure, with the added threat that the loss of momentum in developing countries over the past few years will be greater than was previously anticipated. The trade slowdown of the last years has been widespread across most of the developing and developed countries. Average trade growth rates for all regions are now very low and just a fraction of what they were in the pre-crisis period. The reasons for the ongoing trade slowdown are to be found in a variety of factors. While some of these factors are likely to have only temporary effects and maybe cyclical in nature, others are likely to be more long lasting and related to structural shifts. The economic system is based on mechanisms that are not, however, automatic. They work if initiated with the right intention and appropriate levels of spiritual, physical, human and social “capital”. The great global contradiction in history has been the rapid growth of affluence in some areas of the world while others have remained cut off and at the margins. Global markets can be good servants but bad masters; and ceding more authority to those markets is a matter of political choice, not economic or technological destiny. The economic slowdown in developed economies rules out any simple explanation that those choices are the product of a rigged North-South game. Indeed, the combination of slower growth and rising inequality in these economies has left its own trail of depressed communities. The big political challenge facing the international community is therefore to move beyond a mapping of the winners and losers, of moving from globalization to a more constructive narrative of building shared prosperity. As recalled in the political Declaration Nairobi Azimio: “We still face an unequal global distribution of resources and opportunities, but today we are better placed to take concrete actions that can address the inequalities between and among countries and peoples. In 2015, world leaders agreed on how to better position the international community to address some of the most pressing global challenges. These agreements and outcomes collectively offer a blueprint for how the global economy, society and environment should look in 2030”. The policies of multilateral institutions, the set of 17 goals of the Post-2015 Agenda cannot merely attempt to achieve a kind of “efficient equilibrium” from the spontaneous outcomes of self-interested actions. We must strive instead for the common good, which requires, on the one hand, both effort and self-restraint of every member of a group, society, or community of nations, and, on the other hand, cooperation among them. The ground for the common good must be prepared step by step and day by day, by continuous and conscientious efforts in two directions—one structural and the other virtuous: the goodness of institutional structures help promote the common good, while the virtuous behavior of persons helps transform institutions. This is what is required to address the fundamental questions that are related to the financial crisis and the quest for solutions to it. Thus, when we talk about the common good, we need to recognize that “the degree of its realization in any given historical moment  depends on the readiness of members of the group to act according to their profound vocation of brotherly humanity.” As usual, it is very difficult to make predictions, but if we want to give the 2030 Agenda an opportunity to succeed we should continue to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda which calls us to redirect the national and international investment regime towards sustainable development. It is time to embrace a transformative shift to translate declarations into actions, and commitments into achievements. It is no longer enough for us to restate our position after having negotiated a balanced Ministerial mandate, our common goal should be to make it work in order to transform our decision into action and achieve this ambitious goal formulated in the 2030 Agenda. Thank you, 
Mr. President.

1 Cfr. TD/519/Add.2, par. 8 
2 Dembinski, Finanzen und Fristen: Krise der Kongruenz zwischen Realität und Virtualität der Zeit, in Religion-Wirtschaft-Politik: Vol. 8. Kapitalismus – eine Religion in der Krise I. Grundprobleme von Risiko, Vertrauen, Schuld, eds. G. Pfleiderer & P. Seele, pp. 282–322, Zürich, 2013.

(IOM) – 107th Session of the Council Geneva,

Statement by H.E. Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva International Organization for Migration (IOM) – 107th Session of the Council Geneva, 
6 December 2016 
Mr. Chairperson, 
The Delegation of the Holy See wishes to congratulate the Director General and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on its 65th anniversary and commend its dedication in promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. This year will be remembered as particularly significant for the IOM and for global migration: the IOM formally entered a closer legal and working relationship with the United Nations, becoming a Related Organization. In addition, last September the world came together in a UN General Assembly Summit of Heads of State on refugees and migrants – indeed, for the first time in 71 years, the focus was also on migration – and adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. At the same time, regrettably, 2016 will also go down in history as the year when large numbers of migrants, well over six-thousand, lost their lives in search of a better life. Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed concern for migrants through his words and actions, and he has assumed direct responsibility for migrant issues within the new Curial Dicastery for integral human development. Mr. Chairperson, The number of people on the move in search of better opportunities, often fleeing from conflicts, famine, religious persecution, climate change and natural disasters, continues to increase incessantly. The motives for migration movements should cause us to question seriously our achievements as a human family and urge us to create what Pope Francis defined as a new "social economy" based on inclusion and justice, serving the many, not the few, and ultimately making migration an opportunity and a choice rather than a compelling decision.  What is even worse, migrants are often treated as numbers and commodities, and are too often perceived as a threat instead of a resource for the host society. It is important to remember that behind the statistics are persons who are no different from our own family members and friends, “each of them with a name, a face, a story and aspirations, as well as an inalienable right to live in peace” (Pope Francis, Address to members of the European Confederation and World Union of Jesuit Alumni and Alumnae, Rome, 17 September 2016). The transfer of resources, skills, knowledge, and ideas through migration is substantial but it is often overlooked. Moreover, the local integration in the host countries remains a critical challenge: many migrants continue to live and to work in precarious conditions and they face stereotyping and discrimination; they are often marginalized and without access to social services. When migrants are not integrated into society they become isolated, creating a dangerous culture of mutual distrust and suspicion. We need to replace such a culture with a culture of dialogue and encounter. Migration, integration and development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing phenomena. The great contribution of migrants becomes real and effective when they are recognized as partners in economic development, when their human rights are respected and, at the same time, when they appreciate the basic values of the host society, aware that a better and just future may be built only together. Mr. Chairperson, The New York Declaration is a positive change of attitude and an attempt to build bridges among societies. It expresses the political will to save lives, protecting the dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their migratory status, at all times (Para. 41, New York Declaration). It also acknowledges that migration is not a problem to be solved but a human reality that should be managed through a multilateral approach. The Holy See wishes to express its support for the IOM’s endeavors in this matter and wants to assure its readiness to collaborate actively in the negotiations leading to the Global Compact, bringing to bear its own experience in the field of international migration. Such a process should channel all efforts towards the achievement of significant and far-sighted results and it should be guided by a spirit of solidarity, by the centrality of the human person and his or her dignity and by a desire to promote integral human development. In this regard, my Delegation fully supports and thanks the Director General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, in his offer to serve as Secretary General of the inter-governmental conference in 2018 and for his proposal to dedicate the International Dialogue on Migration to the discussions on the Global Compact. At the same time, it could be useful to reconstitute the IOM-UN Working Group as a Working Group on the Global Compact on Migration in order to channel all efforts towards the achievement of significant and far-sighted results.  Mr. Chairperson, Of particular concern for the Holy See is the vulnerability of child migrants, to whom Pope Francis dedicated his Message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees. “...Children constitute the most vulnerable group, because as they face the life ahead of them, they are invisible and voiceless: their precarious situation deprives them of documentation, hiding them from the world’s eyes; the absence of adults to accompany them prevents their voices from being raised and heard.” (Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2017). The number of children on the move is growing exponentially. All over the world, conflict affects 246 million children and many of them face forced displacement, rights violations, lack of access to basic services and health and nutrition challenges.1 They often fall victim to perverse scourges such as child trafficking, exploitation, and abuse. No matter where they are or where they come from, all children have individual needs and rights even when they cross borders. Minors, given their vulnerability, have different needs than adults and policies must prioritize their best interests at all stages. Mr. Chairperson, Children are the first among those who pay the heavy price of migration, almost always caused by violence, poverty, environmental imbalances, and disasters, as well as the negative aspects of globalization. Let us be brave and resolute in our commitment to tackle the causes which trigger forced migration in the countries of origin. Thank you, 
Mr. Chairperson. 

 1 Refugee_and_Migrant_Crisis_Advocacy_Web_12_11_15.pdf

lunedì 14 novembre 2016

Situazioni a rischio: Appello alla comunità internazionale

L’Europa continuana a costruire “barriere” giuridico legali o politiche nei confronti dei profughi: trattati per il controllo dell’immigrazione e i rimpatri forzati con vari Stati africani e del Medio Oriente; accordi bilaterali tra Stati o addirittura tra polizie (come nel recente caso del Sudan) per attuare in concreto quei trattati; misure sempre più restrittive per la concessione dell’asilo o di altre forme di protezione internazionale; respingimenti di massa; procedure di identificazione sommarie negli hotspot come anticamera di “riconsegna” agli Stati di provenienza o di transito; “pratiche” sempre più lente e incerte per i ricongiungimenti familiari e ostacoli frapposti da varie ambasciate anche quando le richieste sono state accolte dal Ministero dell’Interno; mancanza pressoché totale di corridoi umanitari anche in situazioni di grave pericolo.
Questa politica – come già denunciato in varie occasioni – “produce” di continuo nuove situazioni ad alto rischio o conferma e aggrava quelle già segnalate in passato e mai risolte. Di seguito la descrizione sommaria di alcuni di questi casi, che sottoponiamo all’attenzione dell’Unhcr, chiedendo di fare tutto quanto è possibile per trovare una soluzione, d’intesa con Bruxelles e le cancellerie degli Stati Ue ma anche con i Governi dei paesi africani interessati.

– Sud Sudan
E’ l’ultimo allarme pervenuto all’agenzia Habeshia, frutto del forte aggravamento di una situazione già denunciata. Nel centro accoglienza di Mba Kandu, posto sotto le insegne dell’Unhcr, nel comprensorio di Yambiyo, centinaia di profughi di varia nazionalità (eritrei, etiopi, somali, con numerose donne e bambini) sono in balia dei miliziani che si contendono il controllo della zona, un’area strategica vicino al confine con il Congo. Nei giorni scorsi gruppi di guerriglieri, dopo aver sopraffatto il piccolo presidio di guardia, hanno fatto irruzione nel complesso, saccheggiando tutto quello che potevano e, soprattutto, sequestrando alcune ragazze. La persona che ha chiesto aiuto ad Habeshia con un telefono cellulare ha detto di non sapere che fine abbiano fatto quelle poverette. Ogni giorno i profughi vivono nel terrore che raid analoghi possano ripetersi. Qualcuno di loro ha proposto di fuggire in massa ma non è stato e non è tuttora possibile: quei profughi non saprebbero dove andare e comunque non sono in grado di attraversare, con donne e bambini, una regione infestata di miliziani e dove infuriano i combattimenti e gli scontri a fuoco.

Occorre garantire la protezione del campo, magari con truppe Onu, oppure organizzare un canale umanitario per evacuarlo e trasferire quei profughi in un posto più sicuro, magari fuori dal Sud Sudan.
Riferimento telefonico: Agenzia Habeshia 338.4424202 – 0041.765328448

– Sudan
Dalla tarda primavera scorsa si sono moltiplicati gli arresti di profughi, soprattutto eritrei. E’ un’operazione sistematica, iniziata con vaste retate a Khartoum e nelle altre città principali e proseguita poi nella fascia settentrionale del paese, lungo le strade e le piste che conducono verso la Libia e l’Egitto, per bloccare i migranti che cercano di passare o magari si avvicinano semplicemente al confine. Centinaia, forse migliaia di persone sono state rinchiuse nei centri di detenzione oppure nelle comuni carceri criminali in attesa di essere rimpatriate contro la loro volontà. Particolarmente grave è la situazione degli eritrei, che rischiano di essere riconsegnati alla dittatura dalla quale sono scappati, con la prospettiva di “sparire” nelle prigioni del regime o anche peggio. Tutto lascia credere che questo giro di vite impresso dal presidente Omar Al Bashir al problema migranti sia legato direttamente al Processo di Khartoum e all'accordo bilaterale tra le polizie italiana e sudanese che ne è seguito, firmato a Roma il 4 agosto scorso. A occuparsi dei controlli e degli arresti sono, tra l’altro, i cosiddetti “diavoli a cavallo”, la famigerata milizia fedelissima ad Al Bashir, tristemente famosa per le violenze di ogni genere perpetrate nella martoriata regione del Darfur. C’è anzi il pesante, fondato sospetto che i fondi stanziati dalla Unione Europea in favore del Sudan, giustificati con la necessità di migliorare “la sicurezza dei confini”, siano serviti in realtà a finanziare proprio questa milizia. Si tratta, è bene ricordarlo, di milioni di euro.

Chiediamo di intervenire al più presto per avere la garanzia che tutti i profughi attualmente detenuti non vengano rimpatriati contro la loro volontà e, nello stesso tempo, di trovare il sistema per chiederne la liberazione e creare dei corridoi umanitari per trasferirli in un paese sicuro.      
Riferimento telefonico: Agenzia Habeshia 338.4424202 – 0041.765328448

 Botswana e Tanzania.
Un folto gruppo di esuli eritrei corre il rischio di essere riconsegnato ad Asmara. Sono tutti campioni dello sport, fuggiti in occasione di trasferte all’estero delle rispettive squadre impegnate in competizioni internazionali.
Botswana. Nell’agosto del 2015 dieci componenti della nazionale di calcio, dopo una partita valida per le qualificazioni della Coppa del Mondo, hanno scelto di chiedere asilo politico, rifiutandosi di rientrare in Eritrea. Da allora, in pratica, nessuno si è più preoccupato della loro tutela e del loro futuro. Ormai sono allo stremo, mentre si moltiplicano le pressioni di Asmara perché il governo beciuano ne decreti l’espulsione e il rimpatrio forzato.

Tanzania. Il caso riguarda tre giovani, due dei quali ex giocatori della nazionale di beach volley. E’ una vicenda simile a quella del Botswana, ma molto più grave e urgente perché le autorità della Tanzania hanno rigettato le richieste di asilo.
I tre si chiamano Tedros Berhane Tesfay; Tesfom Simon Hadgiu; Gebregziabiher Weldu Muhur e si trovano attualmente a Dar Es Salaam.
La loro prima domanda, sottoposta all’ufficio dell’Unhcr in Tanzania, risale al 20 aprile 2015, alle ore 9,30. Nei giorni successivi è arrivata la risposta negativa da parte della Tanzania. Da allora la situazione è come in sospeso: una “spada di Damocle” sul futuro e la vita stessa di questi giovani rifugiati.
Entrambi i casi sono stati già sollevati nel maggio scorso. L’appello lanciato da Habeshia non ha avuto esito. In questi ultimi sei mesi la situazione, lungi dal migliorare, si è progressivamente aggravata e le minacce di un rimpatrio forzato si sono fatte sempre più pressanti.

Chiediamo all’Unhcr di intervenire sul Governo del Botswana e della Tanzania, attraverso la sua delegazione locale o africana, per scongiurare, come intervento immediato, il rischio di espulsione e riconsegna ad Asmara. Più in generale riteniamo che occorra organizzare dei canali umanitari per trasferire questi rifugiati  in paesi più sicuro, sottraendoli al rischio crescente di rimpatrio forzato.
Riferimento telefonico per il caso della Tanzania: 00393384424202

– Gibuti.
Nelle carceri di Gibuti è rinchiuso da anni un ex pilota militare fuggito dall’Eritrea con il suo aereo da combattimento per chiedere asilo politico. Il governo di Gibuti lo ha accolto ma contro di lui è iniziata una autentica “caccia” non solo da parte di Asmara, che ne chiede la riconsegna come disertore, ma anche di Addis Abeba, che ne ha sollecitato l’estradizione accusandolo di aver partecipato a bombardamenti indiscriminati sulle città etiopiche durante la guerra combattuta tra il 1998 e il 2000. Gibuti finora ha resistito alle pressioni delle due parti, ma ha pensato bene di arrestare quel pilota, con la giustificazione che sarebbe questo “l’unico modo efficace per proteggerlo”.
Il caso è stato già sollevato da Habeshia circa cinque mesi fa, insieme a quello di 19 prigionieri di guerra eritrei catturati nel giugno del 2008 e rimasti in carcere ben oltre la pace firmata nel 2010, dopo un conflitto lunghissimo e sanguinoso. La vicenda di quei 19 prigionieri si è risolta felicemente, con la liberazione e la consegna a un paese sicuro. Non così la storia del pilota esule, che paradossalmente sta scontando da anni il carcere solo per aver inseguito il suo sogno di libertà. Le sue condizioni anche fisiche sono sempre più precarie e c’è il timore che prima o poi Gibuti ceda alle richieste o di Asmara o di Addis Abeba.

Chiediamo un visto “umanitario” verso un paese sicuro. Il caso di questo pilota ha tutte le caratteristiche, infatti, per la concessione dell’asilo o quanto meno, della “tutela sussidiaria” internazionale perché la sua sicurezza personale sarebbe messa a rischio sia nel caso di consegna all’Eritrea che all’Etiopia e, d’altra parte, non è pensabile che possa restare ancora in prigione a Gibuti come se si trattasse di un criminale e non di un rifugiato politico.
Riferimento telefonico: Agenzia Habeshia 338.4424202 – 0041.765328448

– Libia.
I controlli sono stati intensificati e sono iniziati rimpatri di massa, senza porsi problemi sulla sorte che attende i profughi nei paesi d’origine. Si susseguono le notizie di continui blocchi e arresti di rifugiati e migranti, da parte della polizia e della Guardia Costiera libiche, sia durante le “marce” di avvicinamento alle sponde del Mediterraneo, sia lungo il litorale prima dell’imbarco, sia su gommoni intercettati all’interno delle acque territoriali della Libia e costretti a invertire la rotta.
Come nel caso del Sudan, il “giro di vite” deciso da Tripoli ha cominciato a concretizzarsi in concomitanza con la progressiva attuazione del Processo di Khartoum, al quale si ispira evidentemente anche l’accordo bilaterale firmato tra Roma e Tripoli nell’agosto 2016. Il principio guida sembra essere quello di fermare comunque profughi e migranti, per impedire che possano anche solo tentare di raggiungere l’Europa, confinandoli in Libia e negli altri paesi di transito e negando loro, di fatto, la possibilità di presentare richiesta di asilo, a prescindere dalla loro storia personale o dalle “ragioni individuali” e senza curarsi del destino oscuro e dei gravi rischi ai quali vengono esposti. In sostanza, un respingimento di massa, la cui attuazione pratica viene “appaltata” a terzi. Si tratta di una scelta che appare ai limiti, se addirittura non li supera, della legislazione internazionale sui diritti umani.

Chiediamo, come misura immediata, la garanzia che nessuno dei profughi fermati, di qualsiasi nazionalità, venga rimpatriato contro la sua volontà.
Più in generale, sollecitiamo l’abolizione e il superamento di tutti gli accordi e i trattati che di fatto hanno esternalizzato i confini della Fortezza Europa, affidandone la vigilanza agli Stati africani contraenti (Processo di Rabat, Processo di Khartoum, trattati di Malta e gli accordi bilaterali conseguenti).    

Riferimento telefonico: Agenzia Habeshia 338.4424202 – 0041.765328448

giovedì 3 novembre 2016

Sud Sudan: appello per l’evacuazione di profughi da zone di guerra

Campo profughi in balia dei miliziani:
garantire la sicurezza o l’evacuazione

“Il nostro campo è in balia dei miliziani. Non si tratta più solo dei pericoli legati ai combattimenti sempre più vicini. Ora ci sono incursioni e violenze all’interno del campo stesso in cui siamo rifugiati. E’ come un incubo: ci sentiamo abbandonati da tutti…”.

E’ l’ultimo grido d’aiuto arrivato all’agenzia Habeshia dal Sud Sudan. L’hanno lanciato decine di profughi eritrei, etiopi, somali, subsahariani alloggiati nel centro accoglienza di Mba Kandu, posto sotto le insegne dell’Unhcr, l’Alto Commissariato dell’Onu per i rifugiati, nel comprensorio di Yambiyo, una città con meno di 40 mila abitanti, lontana 600 chilometri da Juba, la capitale, ma al centro di una zona strategica importante e dunque molto contesa tra le truppe nuer ribelli e quelle dinka filo governative, perché passa da qui una delle principali strade che conducono al confine con il Congo, distante una quarantina di chilometri.

E’ già successo alcuni mesi fa. Già allora i profughi hanno chiesto di essere protetti o trasferiti in un luogo più sicuro, magari sotto la scorta delle truppe Onu presenti nel paese, nel timore che il campo venisse a trovarsi proprio al centro dei combattimenti. I tentativi di accordo condotti a Juba nel mese di luglio tra il presidente Salva Kiir e il capo dei ribelli, l’ex vicepresidente Riek Mashar, hanno portato a una illusoria tregua anche a Mba Kandu. Rotte le trattative  e ripresi gli scontri tra le milizie dinka e quelle nuer, però, la situazione è di nuovo precipitata rapidamente, fino all’emergenza estrema segnalata oggi.

L’episodio più grave si è verificato qualche giorno fa. “Dopo aver eliminato alcuni agenti delle forze di sicurezza – ha telefonato un profugo eritreo all’agenzia Habeshia – un gruppo di miliziani (non si sa di quale fazione: ndr) ha fatto irruzione nel campo, ha saccheggiato tutto quello che ha potuto e, prima di fuggire, ha rapito alcune ragazze. Non sappiamo dove quelle poverette siano finite. Da allora viviamo nel terrore: incursioni, violenze e sequestri analoghi possono verificarsi  in qualsiasi momento. La scorta del campo non è in grado di opporsi. I funzionari occidentali dell’Unhcr non si sono più visti da giorni: è rimasto soltanto il personale sudanese”.

Alla luce di questo appello disperato, l’agenzia Habeshia chiede

– Alla Comunità internazionale di accertare quanto sta accadendo a Mba Kandu e di garantire la sicurezza e la vita stessa dei profughi.
– All’Unhcr, responsabile campo, in particolare, di creare una rete di protezione efficiente e permanente oppure di organizzare un canale umanitario per portare in salvo prima possibile questi profughi, trovando poi il modo di attuare un programma di reinsediamento in uno Stato in grado di garantire una forma di protezione internazionale. Si tratta, infatti, in molti casi, di persone estremamente deboli e vulnerabili: uomini, donne e bambini in cerca solo di pace.
– Al segretario generale della Nazioni Unite Ban ki Moon, all’Unione Europea e alle cancellerie di tutti gli Stati Ue, di offrire la massima collaborazione possibile all’Unhcr in questa operazione e di intervenire anche presso le parti in lotta – il governo di Juba e i leader ribelli – perché rispettino l’internazionalità, la neutralità e la sicurezza di questo e di tutti gli altri campi profughi esistenti nel Sud Sudan.
don Mussie Zerai
presidente dell’agenzia Habeshia

Roma, 4 novembre 2016

giovedì 13 ottobre 2016

Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me” (Mk 9:37; cf. Mt 18:5; Lk 9:48; Jn 13:20). With these words, the Evangelists remind the Christian community of Jesus’ teaching, which both inspires and challenges. This phrase traces the sure path which leads to God; it begins with the smallest and, through the grace of our Saviour, it grows into the practice of welcoming others. To be welcoming is a necessary condition for making this journey a concrete reality: God made himself one of us. In Jesus God became a child, and the openness of faith to God, which nourishes hope, is expressed in loving proximity to the smallest and the weakest. Charity, faith and hope are all actively present in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, as we have rediscovered during the recent Extraordinary Jubilee.
But the Evangelists reflect also on the responsibility of the one who works against mercy: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin: it is better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:6; cf. Mk 9:42; Lk 17:2). How can we ignore this severe warning when we see the exploitation carried out by unscrupulous people? Such exploitation harms young girls and boys who are led into prostitution or into the mire of pornography; who are enslaved as child labourers or soldiers; who are caught up in drug trafficking and other forms of criminality; who are forced to flee from conflict and persecution, risking isolation and abandonment.
For this reason, on the occasion of the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees, I feel compelled to draw attention to the reality of child migrants, especially the ones who are alone. In doing so I ask everyone to take care of the young, who in a threefold way are defenceless: they are children, they are foreigners, and they have no means to protect themselves. I ask everyone to help those who, for various reasons, are forced to live far from their homeland and are separated from their families.
Migration today is not a phenomenon limited to some areas of the planet. It affects all continents and is growing into a tragic situation of global proportions. Not only does this concern those looking for dignified work or better living conditions, but also men and women, the elderly and children, who are forced to leave their homes in the hope of finding safety, peace and security. Children are the first among those to pay the heavy toll of emigration, almost always caused by violence, poverty, environmental conditions, as well as the negative aspects of globalization. The unrestrained competition for quick and easy profit brings with it the cultivation of perverse scourges such as child trafficking, the exploitation and abuse of minors and, generally, the depriving of rights intrinsic to childhood as sanctioned by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Childhood, given its fragile nature, has unique and inalienable needs. Above all else, there is the right to a healthy and secure family environment, where a child can grow under the guidance and example of a father and a mother; then there is the right and duty to receive adequate education, primarily in the family and also in the school, where children can grow as persons and agents of their own future and the future of their respective countries. Indeed, in many areas of the world, reading, writing and the most basic arithmetic is still the privilege of only a few. All children, furthermore, have the right to recreation; in a word, they have the right to be children.
And yet among migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group, because as they face the life ahead of them, they are invisible and voiceless: their precarious situation deprives them of documentation, hiding them from the world’s eyes; the absence of adults to accompany them prevents their voices from being raised and heard. In this way, migrant children easily end up at the lowest levels of human degradation, where illegality and violence destroy the future of too many innocents, while the network of child abuse is difficult to break up.
How should we respond to this reality?
Firstly, we need to become aware that the phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God’s commandments is connected to it: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Ex 22:21); “Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” (Deut10:19). This phenomenon constitutes a sign of the times, a sign which speaks of the providential work of God in history and in the human community, with a view to universal communion. While appreciating the issues, and often the suffering and tragedy of migration, as too the difficulties connected with the demands of offering a dignified welcome to these persons, the Church nevertheless encourages us to recognize God’s plan. She invites us to do this precisely amidst this phenomenon, with the certainty that no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces “every nation, tribe, people and tongue” (Rev7:9). Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable, as in the case of child migrants.
Furthermore, we need to work towards protectionintegration and long-term solutions.
We are primarily concerned with adopting every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrants, because “these boys and girls often end up on the street abandoned to themselves and prey to unscrupulous exploiters who often transform them into the object of physical, moral and sexual violence” (Benedict XVI, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2008).
Moreover, the dividing line between migration and trafficking can at times be very subtle. There are many factors which contribute to making migrants vulnerable, especially if they are children: poverty and the lack of means to survive – to which are added unrealistic expectations generated by the media; the low level of literacy; ignorance of the law, of the culture and frequently of the language of host countries. All of this renders children physically and psychologically dependent. But the most powerful force driving the exploitation and abuse of children is demand. If more rigorous and effective action is not taken against those who profit from such abuse, we will not be able to stop the multiple forms of slavery where children are the victims.
It is necessary, therefore, for immigrants to cooperate ever more closely with the communities that welcome them, for the good of their own children. We are deeply grateful to organizations and institutions, both ecclesial and civil, that commit time and resources to protect minors from various forms of abuse. It is important that evermore effective and incisive cooperation be implemented, based not only on the exchange of information, but also on the reinforcement of networks capable of assuring timely and specific intervention; and this, without underestimating the strength that ecclesial communities reveal especially when they are united in prayer and fraternal communion.
Secondly, we need to work for the integration of children and youngsters who are migrants. They depend totally on the adult community. Very often the scarcity of financial resources prevents the adoption of adequate policies aimed at assistance and inclusion. As a result, instead of favouring the social integration of child migrants, or programmes for safe and assisted repatriation, there is simply an attempt to curb the entrance of migrants, which in turn fosters illegal networks; or else immigrants are repatriated to their country of origin without any concern for their “best interests”.
The condition of child migrants is worsened when their status is not regularized or when they are recruited by criminal organizations. In such cases they are usually sent to detention centres. It is not unusual for them to be arrested, and because they have no money to pay the fine or for the return journey, they can be incarcerated for long periods, exposed to various kinds of abuse and violence. In these instances, the right of states to control migratory movement and to protect the common good of the nation must be seen in conjunction with the duty to resolve and regularize the situation of child migrants, fully respecting their dignity and seeking to meet their needs when they are alone, but also the needs of their parents, for the good of the entire family.
Of fundamental importance is the adoption of adequate national procedures and mutually agreed plans of cooperation between countries of origin and of destination, with the intention of eliminating the causes of the forced emigration of minors.
Thirdly, to all I address a heartfelt appeal that long-term solutions be sought and adopted. Since this is a complex phenomenon, the question of child migrants must be tackled at its source. Wars, human rights violations, corruption, poverty, environmental imbalance and disasters, are all causes of this problem. Children are the first to suffer, at times suffering torture and other physical violence, in addition to moral and psychological aggression, which almost always leave indelible scars.
It is absolutely necessary, therefore, to deal with the causes which trigger migrations in the countries of origin. This requires, as a first step, the commitment of the whole international community to eliminate the conflicts and violence that force people to flee. Furthermore, far-sighted perspectives are called for, capable of offering adequate programmes for areas struck by the worst injustice and instability, in order that access to authentic development can be guaranteed for all. This development should promote the good of boys and girls, who are humanity’s hope.
Lastly, I wish to address a word to you, who walk alongside migrant children and young people: they need your precious help. The Church too needs you and supports you in the generous service you offer. Do not tire of courageously living the Gospel, which calls you to recognize and welcome the Lord Jesus among the smallest and most vulnerable.
I entrust all child migrants, their families, their communities, and you who are close to them, to the protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth; may they watch over and accompany each one on their journey. With my prayers, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, 8 September 2016

رسالة البابا فرنسيس بمناسبة اليوم العالمي للمهاجر واللاجئ 2017 "مهاجرون قاصرون، ضعفاء لا صوت لهم"

أيها الإخوة والأخوات الأعزاء!
"مَن قَبِلَ واحِدًا مِن أَمثالِ هؤُلاءِ الأَطفالِ إِكرامًا لاسمِي فقَد قَبِلَني أَنا ومَن قَبِلَني فلم يَقبَلْني أَنا، بلِ الَّذي أَرسَلَني" (مر 9، 37؛ راجع مت 18، 5؛ لو 9، 48؛ يو 13، 20). بهذه الكلمات يُذكّر الإنجيليّون الجماعةَ المسيحية بأحد تعاليم يسوع المُشجّع والمُفعم بالالتزام معًا. هذا التعليم في الواقع، يرسم دربًا أكيدة تقود إلى الله، انطلاقًا من الصغار ومرورًا بالمخلص، من خلال ديناميكيّة الاستقبال. فالاستقبال إذًا هو شرط ضروريٌّ لكي تتحقق هذه المسيرة بشكل ملموس: الله صار واحدًا منا، بيسوع صار طفلاً، والانفتاح على الله بالإيمان الذي يُغذّي الرجاء، يُترجم في القرب المحب من الصغار والأشدَّ ضُعفًا. المحبة والإيمان والرجاء، تتصل كلها بأعمال الرحمة الروحيّة والجسديّة التي أعدنا اكتشافها خلال اليوبيل الاستثنائي الأخير.
لكن الإنجيليين يتوقفون أيضًا عند مسؤوليّة من يسلك بعكس الرحمة: "وأَمَّا الذي يَكونُ حجَرَ عَثرَةٍ لأَحدِ هؤلاءِ الصِّغارِ المؤمِنينَ بي فَأَولى بِه أَن تُعلَّقَ الرَّحى في عُنُقِه ويُلقى في عُرضِ البَحر" (مت 18، 6؛ راجع مر 9، 42؛ لو 17، 2). كيف لا نفكّر بهذا التحذير القاسي آخذين بعين الاعتبار الاستغلال الذي يقوم به أشخاص بلا ضمير إزاء العديد من الأطفال – الذكور والإناث – الذين يُجبرون على ممارسة الدعارة أو يقعون في شباك المواد الإباحيّة، أو يصيرون عبيدًا لعمالة القاصرين أو يُجنّدون، أو ينخرطون في تجارة المخدرات وأشكال أخرى من الجرائم، مجبرين على الهرب من النزاعات والاضطهادات بالرغم من خطر أن يجدوا أنفسهم وحيدين ومتروكين؟
لذلك وفي مناسبة اليوم السنوي العالمي للمهاجر واللاجئ، أوّد أن ألفت الانتباه إلى واقع المهاجرين القاصرين، لا سيما أولئك الوحيدين، وأطلب من الجميع أن يعتنوا بالأطفال الذين لا حول لهم ولا قوّة لأنّهم قاصرون وغرباء وغير قادرين عن الدفاع عن أنفسهم، عندما، ولأسباب عديدة، يُجبرون على العيش بعيدين عن أرضهم ومنفصلين عن محبة العائلة.
إن الهجرات اليوم ليست ظاهرة مُرتبطة ببعض مناطق الأرض، وإنما تطال جميع القارات وتأخذ أكثر فأكثر أبعاد مسألة عالميّة مأساويّة. لا يتعلّق الأمر فقط بأشخاص يبحثون عن عمل كريم أو أوضاع معيشية أفضل وإنما أيضًا برجال ونساء ومسنّين وأطفال يُجبرون على ترك بيوتهم راجين إنقاذ حياتهم وإيجاد السلام والأمان في مكان آخر. إن القاصرين هم أول من يدفع الثمن الباهظ للهجرة التي يسببها على الدوام العنف والبؤس والأوضاع البيئيّة، وهي عوامل ترتبط أيضًا بالعولمة في جوانبها السلبيّة. إن العَدْوَ المفرط نحو الأرباح السريعة والسهلة يتضمن أيضًا تنامي آفات مقيتة شأن الاتجار بالأطفال، استغلال القاصرين وإساءة معاملتهم، وبشكل عام، نكران الحقوق المرتبطة بالطفولة والتي تنُصُّ عليهاالمعاهدة الدولية لحقوق الطفل.
لسن الطفولة، ونظرًا لهشاشتها، متطلبات فريدة لا يمكن التغاضي عنها. وهي قبل كل شيء الحق في بيئة عائلية سليمة ومحمية يُتاح فيها النمو تحت رعاية أب وأم والاقتداء بهما؛ ثم الحق-الواجب في الحصول على تربية ملائمة، في كنف العائلة أساسا وفي المدرسة أيضًا، حيث يُمكن أن ينمو الأطفال كأشخاص ورواد لمستقبلهم وأمّتهم. في الواقع، ما تزال القراءة والكتابة وإمكانية القيام بحسابات بديهية خاصية تتمتّع بها قلة من الأشخاص في العديد من مناطق العالم. لكل القاصرين الحق في اللعب والقيام بنشاطات ترفيهية، إن لهم الحق، باختصار، في أن يكونوا أطفالا.
بالمقابل، يمثّل الأطفال بين المهاجرين، الفئةَ الأكثر هشاشة لأنهم، وإذ يطلّون على الحياة، هم غير مرئيين ولا صوت لهم: عدم الاستقرار يحرمهم من الوثائق ويخفيهم عن أنظار العالم؛ وغياب أشخاص بالغين يرافقونهم، يحول دون رفع أصواتهم وإسماعها. وبهذا الشكل، ينتهي الأمر بالمهاجرين القُصَّر، وبسهولة، إلى أدنى مستويات التدهور الإنساني حيث اللاشرعية والعنف يحرقان في لحظة مستقبل أبرياء كثيرين، فيما شبكة استغلال القاصرين يصعب كسرها.
كيف نواجه هذا الواقع؟
قبل كل شيء، بإدراك أن ظاهرة الهجرة ليست منفصلة عن تاريخ الخلاص، بل هي جزء منه. وترتبط بها وصية لله "والغريبُ فلا تَظلمه ولا تُضايقه فإنَّكم كنتم غرباءَ في أرضِ مصر" (سفر الخروج 22، 20)؛ "فأحبّوا الغريبَ فإنَّكم كنتم غرباءَ في أرضِ مصر" (سفر تثنية الاشتراع 10، 19). تمثّل هذه الظاهرة إحدى علامات الأزمنة، علامة تتكلم عن عمل العناية الإلهية في التاريخ وفي الجماعة البشرية بغية الوصول إلى الشركة الشاملة. إن الكنيسة، دون تجاهل مشاكل الهجرات، التي غالبًا ما تكون مآسي، إضافة إلى المصاعب المرتبطة بالاستقبال الكريم لهؤلاء الأشخاص، تحثّ على رؤية مخطط الله في هذه الظاهرة أيضًا، مع اليقين بأن ما من أحد هو غريب في الجماعة المسيحية التي تعانق "كلّ أمَّةٍ وقبيلةٍ وشعبٍ ولسان" (رؤيا 7، 9). إن كل شخص ثمين، والأشخاص هم أهم من الأشياء، وقيمة كل مؤسسة تُقاس من خلال طريقة معاملتها لحياة الكائن البشري وكرامته، لا سيما في أوضاع الهشاشة، كما في حال المهاجرين القاصرين.
إضافة إلى ذلك، ينبغي التركيز على الحماية والدمج والحلول الدائمة.
قبل كل شيء، ينبغي تبني كل إجراء ممكن لضمان حماية المهاجرين القاصرين والدفاع عنهم، لأن "هؤلاء الفتيان والفتيات ينتهي بهم الأمر غالبًا متروكين في الطرقات وحدهم وفريسة لمستغلّين عديمي الضمير، كثيرًا ما يحوّلونهم إلى غرض للعنف الجسدي والمعنوي والجنسي" (بندكتس السادس عشر، رسالة لمناسبة اليوم العالمي للمهاجر واللاجئ 2008).
من ناحية أخرى، فإن الخط الفاصل بين الهجرة والاتجار قد يصبح في بعض المرات رفيعًا للغاية. وكثيرة هي العوامل التي تساهم في خلق حالة من الهشاشة لدى المهاجرين، لا سيما القاصرين منهم: الفقر ونقص وسائل البقاء على قيد الحياة -بالإضافة إلى التطلعات غير الواقعية التي تسبّبها وسائل الإعلام-؛ والمستوى المتدني للعلم؛ وجهلهم لقوانين البلدان المضيفة وثقافتها وغالبًا لغتها. كل ذلك يجعلهم "خاضعين" جسديًا ونفسيًا. غير أن المحرّك الأقوى لاستغلال الأطفال وسوء معاملتهم يأتي من الطلب. وإن لم يتم إيجاد الطريقة للتدخل بمزيد من الحزم والفعالية ضد المستغلِّين، فلن يكون بالإمكان إيقاف الأشكال المتعددة للعبودية والتي ضحاياها هم القاصرون.
من الضروري إذا، ولخير أطفالهم، أن يتعاون المهاجرون بشكل وثيق أكثر فأكثر مع الجماعات التي تستضيفهم. وبكثير من الامتنان، نتوجّه إلى الهيئات والمؤسسات، الكنسية والمدنية، التي بجهد كبير تقدّم الوقت والموارد لحماية القاصرين من أشكال الاستغلال المتعددة. ومن الأهمية بمكان تحقيق تعاون أكثر فأكثر فعالية وتأثيرًا، لا يقوم على تبادل المعلومات فقط، وإنما أيضًا على تكثيف الشبكات القادرة على ضمان تدخلات سريعة ومتشعّبة، بدون تجاهل أن القوة الكبيرة للجماعات الكنسية تبرز بالأخص عندما تكون هناك وحدة في الصلاة وشَرِكة في الأخوّة.
في المقام الثاني، لا بد من العمل على دمج الأطفال والفتيان المهاجرين. إنهم يعتمدون بالكامل على جماعة البالغين، وغالبًا ما يحول النقص في الموارد المالية دون تبني سياسات ملائمة للاستقبال والرعاية والدمج. وبالتالي، عوضًا عن تعزيز الاندماج الاجتماعي للمهاجرين القاصرين أو دعم برامج لإعادتهم إلى الوطن تكون آمنة وتتمتع بالمرافقة، يتم السعي إلى منع هؤلاء من الدخول مما يسهل اللجوء إلى شبكات غير شرعية؛ أو تتم إعادتهم إلى بلد المنشأ دون التأكد من أن هذا الأمر يتلاءم مع "مصلحتهم العليا" الفعلية.
إن وضع المهاجرين القاصرين يكون أكثر خطورة عندما يوجدون في حالة غير نظامية أو عندما تُجنّدهم عصبات الجريمة المنظمة. وغالبًا ما ينتهي بهم المطاف في مراكز الاعتقال. يُعتقل هؤلاء أحيانًا كثيرة، وبما أنهم يفتقرون إلى المال لدفع الكفالة وتكاليف سفر العودة، يبقون محتجزين لفترات طويلة، ويتعرضون لشتى أنواع الانتهاكات وأعمال العنف. في هذه الحالات ينبغي أن يتلاءم حق الدول في إدارة تدفقات الهجرة والدفاع عن الخير العام الوطني، مع الواجب في حل وتسوية وضع المهاجرين القاصرين في إطار الاحترام الكامل لكرامتهم والسعي إلى الاستجابة لمتطلباتهم، عندما يكونوا لوحدهم، ولمتطلبات والديهم أيضًا، بشكل يعود بالفائدة على الخلية العائلية بأسرها.
ومن الضروري أيضًا أن يتم تبني إجراءات وطنية ملائمة وخطط للتعاون يتم الاتفاق بشأنها بين بلدَي المنشأ والمقصد من أجل إلغاء مسببات الهجرة القسرية للقاصرين.
في المقام الثالث، أوجّه للجميع نداء نابعًا من القلب من أجل البحث عن حلول دائمة وتبنيها. إن مسألة المهاجرين القاصرين، ولكونها ظاهرة معقدة، ينبغي أن تُعالج من جذورها. فالحروب وانتهاكات حقوق الإنسان، والفساد والفقر وغياب التوازن والكوارث البيئية كلها جزء من أسباب المشكلة. والأطفال هم أول من يعاني نتيجة ذلك، من خلال التعرض أحيانًا للتعذيب والعنف الجسدي المرفقَين بالتعذيب والعنف المعنوي والنفسي، ما يترك لديهم علامات لا تُمحى في غالب الأحيان.
لذا من الأهمية بمكان أن تواجَه، في بلدان المنشأ، الأسباب الكامنة وراء الهجرات. وهذا يتطلب، كخطوة أولى، التزام الجماعة الدولية بأسرها في إخماد الصراعات وأعمال العنف التي ترغم الأشخاص على الهروب. فضلا عن ذلك لا بد من تبني نظرة بعيدة المدى تكون قادرة على استشفاف برامج ملائمة للمناطق التي تعاني من أخطر حالات الظلم وانعدام الاستقرار، كي تُضمن للجميع الإفادة من التنمية الأصيلة التي تعزز خير الأطفال الذكور والإناث، أمل البشرية.
أود أخيرًا أن أوجّه كلمة لكم أنتم، أيها السائرون إلى جانب الأطفال والفتيان على دروب الهجرة: إنهم بحاجة إلى مساعدتكم الثمينة، والكنيسة أيضًا تحتاج إليكم وتعضدكم في الخدمة السخية التي تقدمونها. لا تكلّوا من عيش الشهادة الصالحة للإنجيل بشجاعة إذ إنها تدعوكم إلى التعرف على الرب يسوع وقبوله لأنه حاضر في الصغار والضعفاء.
أعهد بجميع المهاجرين القاصرين، وعائلاتهم وجماعاتهم وبكم أنتم أيها الأشخاص القريبون منهم إلى حماية عائلة الناصرة المقدسة، كي تسهر على كل واحد وترافقه في مسيرته؛ وأُرفق صلاتي هذه بالبركة الرسولية.
صدر عن الفاتيكان، 8 سبتمبر / أيلول 2016، عيد ميلاد السيدة العذراء مريم.