Jan. 24, 2019

Italian Protestants and Catholics sign “Let’s remain human” appeal on immigration

Photo: Sean Hawkey/WCC

24 January 2019

The Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, Italian Episcopal Conference, Waldensian Board, and Community of Sant’Egidio signed a joint declaration, entitled “Let’s remain human,” that encourages a spirit of humanity and solidarity towards migrants.

The appeal was signed on 23 January, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The appeal is subtitled “On immigration, it’s time to change our language and act: save those who are in danger, extend humanitarian corridors and open new legal pathways for entry.”

Helping others in need is the very essence of faith, the appeal reflects. “We regret and are dismayed by the superficial and repetitive rhetoric which, for months now, has been used in relation to the theme of global migration, and which loses sight of the fact that, behind the migrant flows, landings and statistics, there are men, women and children who are denied their fundamental human rights: in the countries from which they are fleeing and, indeed, in the countries through which they transit, such as Libya, where they end up in detention camps where they struggle to survive,” the appeal reads.

“To point the finger at them as though they were a threat to our wellbeing, to define them as potential criminals or freeloaders in our reception system is to betray the story of immigrants –Italians included – who, by contrast, have contributed to economic, social and cultural growth in so many countries.”

The appeal calls upon various European countries to replicate or expand “humanitarian corridors,” opened for the first time in Italy at the beginning of 2016. “The test phase is long past and the results, positive in so many respects, are clear for all to see,” notes the appeal. “It would therefore be a good thing to switch to widespread use of this model, which saves human beings from people-smugglers and fosters integration.”