Moving Forward Together

Dr. Anne T. Gallagher

Dr. Anne T. Gallagher

As the incoming President of ICMC, it is an honor for me to provide this foreword to the 2018 Annual Report. The year it documents was a momentous one: not least for the adoption of the first truly global framework agreement on migration – along with a further agreement on refugees. The Global Compact for Migration in particular stands as a collective acknowledgment that no country can deal with these issues alone; that working together under a wide umbrella of shared values and shared commitments is the only way forward.

In measuring the impact of our collective efforts around this Global Compact, I believe two issues must be decisive. The first is detention. Large-scale, indiscriminate detention of migrants is a clear signal of policy failure. The Global Compact affirms that detention is to be used only after other approaches have failed. Effective, low-cost alternatives are available. And when detention is considered necessary, we know how to make it less harmful. If the Global Compact is doing its job, migrant detention must become dignified, humane and increasingly rare.

The second issue is integration. A significant proportion of the worlds’ migrants will not be returning home anytime soon. Either we work on making integration work or we consign millions of women, men and children to a less than half-life in vast refugee camps and on the economic and geographical fringes of our cities and towns. Integration has been done well in the past. But the political and logistical challenges facing us today are unprecedented and their resolution will require radically new ways of thinking and working. We need to replicate and expand every small success, recognizing that effective integration is the most valuable gift on offer for migrants and their host communities.

ICMC’s long and rich history has won it widespread recognition and respect. Yet I believe its best years lie ahead. We deliver a unique blend of front-line support and principled advocacy that is needed more today than ever before. Our work is anchored to Catholic doctrine that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every human being. Our network of member Bishop’s conferences and other partners spans the globe. We are demonstrating a capacity and willingness to adapt to an increasingly challenging operating environment. ICMC’s officials – the heart of our organization – stand out for their professionalism and dedication.

We at ICMC share a common vision: of a world where the movement of people across borders is safer, better regulated and widely welcomed as mutually rewarding for everyone involved. In working towards that vision, we depend on – and deeply appreciate – the support of our members, partners and donors.

In Communion of Service

Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo
Secretary General

Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo

Gratitude — this is the first word that comes to mind when we look back at 2018.

Gratitude to ICMC’s dedicated staff who, over another year, yet again achieved impressive results while serving and protecting refugees and migrants around the world with exemplary professionalism and empathy. Gratitude to ICMC donors who, through their trust and support, made it possible for our staff to carry out their duties. And above all, gratitude to the people we had the privilege to serve, who taught us the deep meaning of words like resilience, dignity and hope.

This Annual Report takes a format that differs from that of previous years. We chose to highlight some central aspects of our work rather than give an exhaustive accounting of each activity. We decided to organize the report according to the four milestones in Pope Francis’ road map to peace: Welcome, Protect, Promote and Integrate. In each of those sections, we focused on ICMC’s direct operations and advocacy activities as well as on the efforts carried out by our members and partners around the world. These are just examples of the much more extensive work done by a network that infuses life into ICMC structures.

One remarkable expression of this life was when representatives of ICMC members gathered in Rome in March to celebrate the Council Plenary Meeting that takes place once every four years. The Council appointed a new Governing Committee with representatives from every region of the world and elected Dr. Anne T. Gallagher as ICMC President. Council members also adopted a Strategic Framework that will guide our work in the coming years by setting a number of priorities such as assisting those forced to leave their homelands and advocating for their rights, combating human trafficking, strengthening child protection and expanding access to positive and life-affirming solutions that allow people on the move to rebuild their lives with dignity.

In recent years, Pope Francis has issued a clarion call, inviting “all believers and men and women of goodwill … to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their abilities.”  When the path of solidarity ahead of us may seem steep, there is no doubt that the Holy Father’s leadership and personal example is a source of encouragement and inspiration.

So, I invite you, the reader of this report, to join in this mission: to serve and protect uprooted people wherever they may be, restoring their dignity and inspiring the necessary changes for their human rights to be respected.