Pope Francis called for the protection of immigrants’ rights on Tuesday and said they are not to be treated as “pawns on the chessboard of humanity.”
In a message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, the Pope said countries should cooperate on “the broad adoption of policies and rules aimed at protecting and promoting the human person.”
"Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity," he wrote in the message. "They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more."
His message, titled “Towards a Better World,” was sent to the United Nations and other government and international institutions. It called for the “elimination of prejudices and presupposition” about migrants and refugees.
"Not infrequently, the arrival of migrants, displaced persons, asylum-seekers and refugees gives rise to suspicion and hostility. There is a fear that society will become less secure, that identity and culture will be lost, that competition for jobs will become stiffer and even that criminal activity will increase," he wrote.
The Pope's family left Italy for Argentina in the early 20th century and lived through the Great Depression, Reuters reported.
"A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization - all typical of a throwaway culture - towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world," the Pope said.
He reiterated his condemnation of “slave labor,” trafficking, and what he calls the “throwaway culture” of modern society – when people are “discarded” because society has no more use for them.
"Particularly disturbing are those situations where migration is not only involuntary, but actually set in motion by various forms of human trafficking and enslavement. Nowadays, 'slave labor' is common currency," he said.
Pope Francis said migrants are suffering from globalization the same way the economy has. Sunday he stated that the global economy is wrongfully based “on a god called money.”
"Development cannot be reduced to economic growth alone, often attained without a thought for the poor and the vulnerable," he wrote in his Tuesday message.