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Don't blame refugees for conflicts they flee, says Vatican archbishop

June 20, 2011

On the World Day for Refugees, June 20, the president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants lamented a “hardening attitude of countries so that it seems that refugees are the problem, and not the reasons why they have to flee.”

Archbishop Antonio Maria Veglio, speaking on Vatican Radio, urged attention to the conflicts that create floods of refugees. He pointed to some places where refugees have lived in precarious circumstances for years, citing the case of Thailand, “where about 150,000 people are living for 20 years in such situations.” The archbishop also mentioned two countries in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there are an estimated 1.7 million refugees; and Sudan, where conflicts in Abjei and Darfur continue to drive people from their homes. On Sunday, June 19, during a visit San Marino, Pope Benedict XVI called attention to this year’s 60th observance of the Day for Refugees. "I invite the civil authorities and all people of good will to ensure refugees are welcomed and given dignified living conditions as they await the chance to return freely and safely to their own countries", he said.


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