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Mayors push a welcome for all

VATICAN (SE): A gathering of mayors from around Europe called for the creation of a Network of Mayors to promote intercity cooperation in dealing with the issues facing the metropolitan areas on the continent.

“This new network must be centred on human encounter and based on a progressive vision of interculturality, with the active participation of civil society—including the third sector—and of the religious traditions, where the defence and promotion of human dignity, freedom, justice, integration and peace must prevail over the debates of our prejudices,” a statement released at the end of the 9 to 10 December 2016 gathering reads.

About 80 mayors gathered at the Casina Pio IV in the Vatican, the headquarters of the Pontifical Academies for Science and Social Science to address the topic of Europe: Refugees Are Our Brothers and Sisters.

In the statement the mayors say that European cities are formed as clusters of towns that existed even before their respective nations, many of them even before Christianity, like Athens and Rome.

“Some of these cities have been able to create forms of coexistence and acceptance that today are models to imitate: Athens, for example, is at the origin of modern democracy; Florence is a leader in the abolition of the death penalty. In general and following the message of Christ, being European also means recognising each person’s human dignity and freedom, with peace as the supreme good,” the statement says.

In addressing the principal challenge of today, the group reflected that each town should remember its own history, as the great cities of Europe, as well as those of the Americas and Asia, which now face the worst crisis of displacement since World War II, must continue to collaborate in good faith, trust, hope, friendship, harmony and justice, to embrace humanity, integration and solidarity.

It stressed that a Network of Mayors is necessary in order to systematically create welcoming cities as shelters for refugees, to provide safe and regular humanitarian corridors within the European Union that are recognised by the international community.

“The new Network of Mayors should promote solutions for victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in terms of forced labour and prostitution, and organ trafficking.

“The network should contribute to restoring a sense of justice and opportunities to the disenfranchised, to unemployed youth and those who have suffered economically because of the persistent demand for cheap, subcontracted labour,” the statement stresses.

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