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Archbishop: Migration should be a choice, not 'something forced'


Migrants from Central America, who are fleeing from violence and poverty, arrive May 7 at a shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Migration should be "a choice rather than something forced or involuntary," said Philippine Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations. (CNS photo/Jorge Duenes, Reuters)

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UNITED NATIONS (CNS) -- Migration should be "a choice rather than something forced or involuntary," said Philippine Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations.

For that to happen, he cautioned, the "right to remain" must be respected.

Archbishop Auza said a proposed U.N. global compact on migration must give the right to remain a higher priority than the right to emigrate.

The archbishop made his remarks May 22 as part of a panel on human-made crises as drivers of migration. The panel was a side event taking place during U.N. preparations for the compact he was addressing.


"There is no worse human-made crisis that drives people forcibly to migrate or internally displaces populations than wars and violent conflicts. More than half of the world's refugees, forced migrants and internally displaced persons have been forced to abandon their homes and properties and, indeed, to flee their countries, because of conflicts and violence, the tremendous negative impact of which continues in the odyssey of the victims," Archbishop Auza said.

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