Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cordially greet the participants in the Solidarity Event, promoted on the
occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Central American Integration System, in
which the Holy See has participated as an extra-regional Observer since 2012.
This initiative intends to mobilize support to improve the situation of forcibly
displaced people and the communities that welcome them in the region of
Central America and Mexico.
The word solidarity, which is at the center of this event, acquires an even greater
meaning in this era of pandemic crisis, a crisis that has tested the whole world,
both poor and rich countries.
The health, economic and social crisis caused by covid-19 has reminded
everyone that human beings are like dust. But a precious dust in the eyes of
God, who has constituted us as a single human family. And just as the natural
family educates in fidelity, sincerity, cooperation and respect, promoting the
planning of a habitable world and believing in relationships of trust, even in
difficult conditions, so the family of nations is called to turn its common
attention. to everyone, especially the smallest and most vulnerable members,
without giving in to the logic of competition and particular interests.
In these last long months of the pandemic, the Central American region has seen
the deterioration of social conditions that were already precarious and complex
due to an unjust economic system. This system wears down the family, the
fundamental cell of society. And so people “without the warmth of a home,
without a family, without a community, without belonging”, find themselves
uprooted and orphaned, at the mercy of “situations of great conflict and without
rapid solution: domestic violence, femicide […], armed gangs and criminals,
drug trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and no longer minors”. These
factors, combined with the pandemic and the climate crisis characterized by an
increasingly intense drought and increasingly frequent hurricanes, have given
human mobility the connotation of a forced mass phenomenon, making it
assume the appearance of a regional exodus.
Despite the innate sense of hospitality of the peoples of Central America, health
restrictions have influenced the closure of many borders. Many remained halfway
there, with no possibility of going forward or going back.
The pandemic has also highlighted the fragility of internally displaced persons,
who still “do not fall within the international protection system provided for by
international refugee law” and often remain without adequate protection.
Furthermore, in the different phases of displacement, both internal and external,
there is a growing number of cases of human trafficking, which “is a plague in
the body of contemporary humanity, a plague in the flesh of Christ. It is a crime
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
What I have presented here are some of the most important challenges
concerning human mobility, a phenomenon that has characterized the history of
the human being and that “carries with it great promises” for the future of
In this context, the Holy See, while reaffirming the exclusive right of States to
manage their borders, expects a common, solid and coordinated regional
commitment, destined to place the person and one’s dignity at the center of
every political exercise. Indeed, “the principle of the centrality of the human
person […] forces us to always put personal security before national security
[…] The conditions of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees require that they
be guaranteed security staff and access to basic services’.
In addition to these protections, it is necessary to adopt specific international
mechanisms that give concrete protection and recognize the “often invisible
tragedy” of internally displaced persons, relegated “to the background in the
national political agenda”.
Similar measures must be taken with respect to our many brothers and sisters
who are forced to flee due to the onset of the severe climate crisis. These
measures must be accompanied by regional protection policies of our “common
home” aimed at alleviating the impact of both climatic phenomena and
environmental disasters caused by man in his work of land grabbing,
deforestation and water appropriation. These violations seriously undermine the
three fundamental areas of integral human development: land, housing and
With regard to trafficking in persons, this scourge must be prevented through
support for families and education, and the victims must be protected with
programs that guarantee their safety, “the protection of privacy, safe
accommodation and adequate social and psychological assistance”. Younger
children and women deserve special attention. «Women are sources of life. Yet
they are continually offended, beaten, raped, induced to prostitute themselves
and to suppress the life they carry in their womb. Any violence inflicted on
women is a profanation of God, born of a woman ”. As Saint John Paul II said,
“woman cannot become an” object “of male” dominion “and” possession “”. We
are all called to support an education that promotes the fundamental equality,
respect and honor that women deserve.
The pandemic has resulted in an “unprecedented educational crisis”,
exacerbated by restrictions and forced isolation that have highlighted existing
inequalities and increased the risk of the most vulnerable falling into trafficking
networks in and out of national borders. In the face of new challenges,
international cooperation must be intensified to prevent trafficking, protect
victims and prosecute offenders. This synergistic action will benefit, to a large
extent, from the participation of religious organizations and local Churches,
which offer not only humanitarian assistance but also spiritual accompaniment to
In times of immeasurable suffering caused by the pandemic, violence and
environmental disasters, the spiritual dimension cannot and must not be
relegated to a secondary position with respect to the protection of physical
health. “The condition for building inclusive societies is in an overall
understanding of the human person, who feels truly welcomed when all the
dimensions that make up his identity are recognized and accepted, including the
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
in the face of so many pressing challenges, the sincere appeal to build a “human
and fraternal society […] capable of working to ensure in an efficient and stable
way that everyone is accompanied on the path of their life” also applies to this
region . It is a joint effort that goes beyond national borders to allow for
regional exchange: “Cultural, economic and political integration with the
surrounding peoples should be accompanied by an educational process that
promotes the value of love for one’s neighbor. , the first essential exercise to
obtain a healthy universal integration ».
Multilateral cooperation is a precious tool for promoting the common good,
paying special attention to the profound and new causes of forcibly displaced
people, so that “borders are not areas of tension, but open arms of
reconciliation”. Today “we are […] faced with the choice between one of two
possible paths: one leads to the strengthening of multilateralism […]; the other
favors attitudes of self-sufficiency, nationalism, protectionism, individualism and
isolation, leaving out the poorest, the most vulnerable, the inhabitants of the
existential peripheries “.
The Church walks together with the peoples of Central America, who have been
able to face crises with courage and be communities that welcome  and
urges them to persevere in solidarity with mutual trust and bold hope.
I thank you from my heart and I invoke the Blessing of the Lord upon all of you
and the nations you represent.