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Conference examines problem of forced migration


’Archbishop Silvio M. Tomasi, permanent observer to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva.

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The Holy Father’s permanent observer to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva delivered one of the keynote addresses Nov. 20 at the Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice conference on the causes of forced migration and the systemic responses.

The address by Archbishop Silvio M. Tomasi, CS, was one of 12 papers delivered at the conference, which continued through Nov. 23 and brought together academics and practitioners in the field of refugee relief, said Father David Hollebach, SJ, the center’s director and a professor of theology at the Jesuit university.

The conference was co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services and Jesuit Relief Services, and is a follow-up to the November 2006 conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, Father Hollebach said.

Father Hollebach said the Nairobi conference was very productive because it drew on Africans and persons working in Africa and their first-hand knowledge of the refugee situation on that continent, in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This conference was organized to open up the discussion to more global issues, such as the 4.5 million people displaced by the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, he said. “This country has taken in only 14,000 refugees?there is something really wrong with that.”

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