Pope Francis Denounces Resurgent Nationalism

In a recent speech to diplomats in Rome, Pope Francis defended “modern multilateral diplomacy” and international institutions against “the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies.

While not identifying particular countries, Pope Francis  appeared to be lamenting the mix of jingoism and isolationism that has emerged in the United States and in European nations where populist governments have risen to power.

Noting that the League of Nations, established after World War I, had failed to head off another war largely because countries were not willing to work together, Francis raised the spectre of fresh violence.

In a recent speech to diplomats in Rome, Pope Francis defended “modern multilateral diplomacy” and international institutions against “the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies.

“The same attitudes are presently threatening the stability of the major international organizations,” he said, urging Europeans in particular to remain united in the face of “temptation to erect new curtains.”

Whilst the Pope acknowledged the concerns in Europe and North America about migrants, he urged sympathy for them, saying governments should help those fleeing poverty, violence and natural disasters.

“I do not believe that partial solutions can exist for so universal an issue,” he said. “Recent events have shown the need for a common, concerted response by all countries, without exception and with respect for every legitimate aspiration, whether of states or of migrants and refugees themselves.”

His remarks also come following the recent adoption of two historic agreements to share responsibility for refugees and cooperate on migration. The ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’ covers all dimensions of global migration. The legally non-binding pact supported by 164 UN member states aims to promote efforts to strengthen regular migration pathways and protect the human rights of migrants. Its objectives and commitments provide states and international agencies a means to coordinate migration policies and ensure that migration works for all. However, the non-participation of some important countries raises questions about the future of the pact.

The Global Compact on Refugees has four main objectives: easing pressure on refugee-hosting countries; enhancing refugees’ self-reliance; expanding refugees’ access to so-called “third countries” through formal resettlement and other legal avenues; and supporting conditions in refugees’ countries of origin to ensure safe repatriation. It was supported by 180 UN member stats with only the US and Hungary opposing it.

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