VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Reflecting on people’s right to remain in their country of origin, share in the common good and live in dignity will be the focus of Pope Francis’ next message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
The pope chose “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay” as the theme for the 2023 world day, which will be celebrated Sept. 24. The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development released the theme of the message March 21.
The pope chose this theme to foster “renewed reflection on a right that has not yet been codified at the international level: the right not to have to migrate or, in other words, the right to be able to remain in one’s own land,” the dicastery said in a communique.
The fact that many people “are forced to migrate demands a careful consideration of the causes of contemporary migration,” it said.
“The right to remain is older, more deeply rooted and broader than the right to migrate,” the dicastery said. “It includes the possibility of sharing in the common good, the right to live in dignity and to have access to sustainable development.”
“All of these rights should be effectively guaranteed in the nations of origin through a real exercise of shared responsibility on the part of the international community,” it said.
The dicastery said it would be launching “multimedia aids, explanatory materials and theological reflections” ahead of the world day in order to help Catholics learn more about the theme and better prepare for this year’s celebration.
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development published a short document on the right not to have to migrant in December 2022.