The causes of the migration crisis “could have been addressed some time ago” and many disasters could have been “prevented or at least their harshest effects mitigated”, Pope Francis said on Monday.

Speaking to ambassadors to the Holy See, the pontiff warned that the situation requires medium and long-term planning and “is not limited to emergency responses”, writes Giulia Segreti in Rome.

He called for an end to people trafficking and stressed that “new sustainable solutions” must include both promoting development in the countries of origin of the migrants, as well as integration policies in the countries to which they have traveled.

He referred to the migration crisis in Europe, Asia and in north and central America, expressing particular gratitude to Italy “whose decisive commitment has saved many lives in the Mediterranean”. Pope Francis said:

I wish …that Europe…has the means to defend the centrality of the human person and to find the right balance between its twofold moral responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens and to ensure assistance and acceptance to migrants.

The Argentine pope also pointed out that the phenomenon of migration “raises a serious cultural issue which necessarily demands a response,” and the key role of inter-religious dialogue.

Image above from Getty

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