21 December 2009


Noting the steadily increasing numbers of irregular migrants around the globe, Archbishop Tomasi the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, called for a new management strategy in dealing with the estimated 30-40 million people forced to leave their home countries as a result of environmental degradation, violations of human rights, wars or lack of opportunity.

In addressing the Council of the International Organization for Migration earlier this month, Archbishop Tomasi emphasized that the dignity and inalienable human rights of irregular migrants demand that they receive protection and the opportunity to enjoy their basic rights to contribute to society, find legal employment and have access to training and education.

In his statement Archbishop Tomasi pointed out that as a consequence of their status, irregular migrants become vulnerable to widespread exploitation and abuse and can be used for unfair competition, and experience serious, but avoidable personal and public health concerns.

Moreover, he went on to say, "irregular migrants are commonly pictured for political and media purposes—and at times perceived by public opinion—as simply losers, job stealers or worse, and a burden to social services when in fact they are active contributors to the economy."

Education and a more realistic portraying of irregular migrants in the media is needed to remove these misconceptions he said.

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