COMECE on the humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border:
“Migrants and asylum seekers deserve full respect of their dignity and fundamental rights”
In the context of the alarming humanitarian situation at the Polish-Belarusian border, COMECE releases a statement urging the EU and its Member States to express practical solidarity with migrants and asylum seekers. Cardinal Hollerich: “Every human being must be treated in a humane way. Migrants and asylum seekers deserve full respect of their dignity and fundamental rights, no matter their legal status.”
In their statement, the Bishops of the European Union grieve for the loss of lives that this tragedy has already caused, and pray for the victims and their families. “We all must show our concrete support to those families and individuals in need, either migrating or looking for asylum” - the statement reads.
COMECE echoes the words of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, expressed in various occasions over the last months, calling for primarily adopting a humanitarian approach to the current crisis. “We can’t allow people dying at our borders. All efforts to avoid these tragedies and to mitigate the suffering of people should be made” - continues the statement.
H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, President of COMECE, calls on the European Union and its Member States to support Poland in addressing this humanitarian challenge at its border, as well as other EU countries in the region that may face a similar scenario. “Taking advantage and instrumentalising the despair of migrants and asylum seekers have severe and harming human consequences and must be prevented” - he stated.
This topic was addressed during the COMECE Working Group on Migration and Asylum earlier last October, in a discussion with staff members of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
On 8 October 2021, following the letter addressed to the European Commission by the Ministers of 12 EU Member States on the developments at the EU external borders, the President of COMECE called on the European Union and its Member States to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and asylum seekers, supporting a positive perception and narrative around migration.
On that occasion, Cardinal Hollerich also expressed the support of COMECE for increasing resettlement efforts by EU Member States, civil society, and Church actors, and to create legal and safe pathways for migrants, so to avoid them from falling into the hands of criminal networks of smugglers and traffickers.
Photo: Leonid Scheglov/Reuters