Protection for refugees is lacking — bishop

November 1, 2010

The number of refugees is growing and resettlement space is shrinking, highlighting a need for international solutions, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, who represents the Vatican to UN agencies in Geneva, told members of the executive committee of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that he was particularly concerned with the issue of “refoulement,” the process by which a county forcibly returns refugees to their countries of origin.

The extensive incidents of such return to unsafe countries show many vulnerable people are not receiving the protection they need, he said.

Tomasi said, despite new programs, settlement of refugees has fallen well below the goals laid out by the UN commissioner’s office.