Briefing Paper 532 – Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons by Peter-John Pearson
The Roman Catholic Church traditionally observes the last Sunday in September as the World Day of Migrants and Refugees; 2021 marks the 107th year of this observance. It is on a different date from the United Nations Day for Refugees, which is in June, and it also parts company with its secular equivalent by deliberately merging the attention on refugees and migrants into a single focus. This makes a significant point in that it argues that the same rights and benefits that automatically accrue to refugees in terms of international protocols and domestic legislation, should be granted to migrants. The Church argues that the push factors that force migrants to leave their homelands and seek better opportunities are as compelling as the reasons that premise the access of refugees to certain rights and support structures. Thus, the Church holds that grinding poverty and the vicissitudes of the economy, for example, should be considered as seriously as the consequences of war and religious persecution as a ground for relief.