Italian Coast Guard crew help a child to disembark from a rescue boat at Roccella Harbor, southern Italy | Photo: picture-alliance/dpa/Valeria Ferraro/SOPA Images/ZUMA Press Wire
Italian Coast Guard crew help a child to disembark from a rescue boat at Roccella Harbor, southern Italy | Photo: picture-alliance/dpa/Valeria Ferraro/SOPA Images/ZUMA Press Wire

The foundation Migrantes set up by the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) has called on European countries to open 'legal pathways of migration' to prevent human trafficking and 'deaths both at sea and on land.'

The president of Migrantes, Giancarlo Perego, called for legal pathways of migration to Europe at a presentation of the foundation's 2021 report on asylum rights on Tuesday (December 14).

"In order to ease the suffering, certainly not burdening Europe but rather the rest of the poor world at the moment..., realistic policies are necessary to open legal migration pathways to finally take away power from traffickers and lower the number of deaths at sea and on the mainland", said Perego. He cited data from the UN refugee agency, according to which roughly 85% of all refugees are hosted in the developing countries.

Perego argued that more opportunities to legally move to Europe for migrants could "help us finally close prison camps in Libya and containment camps far from the eyes and heart that we have at Europe's borders."

More refugee resettlement in Europe

He also called on European countries to "open channels of reallocation from refugee camps and from situations of tension to Europe."

The Migrantes report cites data from the UNHCR on its resettlement program -- according to the paper, just under 26,200 refugees were resettled through the program between January and September of this year, while the UNHCR estimates that the number of people in need of resettlement is more than 1.4 million.

"Humanitarian corridors, which in five years have taken about 4,000 people to all of Europe and just over 3,000 to Italy, are an important but insufficient sign and sometimes they risk being an alibi for our political responsibilities," said Perego.

While the UNHCR resettlement program relies on states to host refugees, humanitarian corridors allow private charities to bring refugees into European countries, if they agree to shoulder the costs of hosting them.

Bishop: Migrant arrivals 'not emergency'

Perego called on Italy specifically to "move beyond the idea of 'thinking in a state of emergency'... that characterizes migratory policies -- both regarding the numbers we can manage when hosting and the number of arrivals." He called on his country "to really believe in widespread hosting and to finally move beyond CAS migrant reception centers and limitations hidden behind concerns over security."

"There is a network of municipalities, associations, families who are now able to host, protect, promote and integrate, to provide a new family, a new school, a new job, a new city to thousands of people who have the right to international protection in our country, according to the Constitution," he said.

 

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