The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign city-state founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929, whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It became an IOM Member State in December 2011. As stated in January 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the members of the ciplomatic corps “last December the Holy See strengthened its longstanding cooperation with the International Organization for Migration by becoming a full member. This is a sign of the commitment of the Holy See and the Catholic Church, alongside the international community, in the search for suitable solutions to this phenomenon which presents a number of aspects ranging from the safeguarding of the dignity of persons to concern for the common good of both the communities which receive them and those from which they come.”
The Director of the IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean and Chief of Mission in Italy is also the Representative to the Holy See.
Throughout the years IOM has worked in close cooperation with the Catholic organizations: in particular with organizations such as the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), Caritas, the Scalabrinians Missionaries, the Capuchin Missionaries, the International Union of Superiors General, and others. These partnerships are focused both on sensitization and information events – such as conferences, meetings with diasporas, etc. – and on on-the-field activities – such as missions in post-conflict countries or the participation in Refugee Resettlement Programmes.
IOM Rome had a long cooperation with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) in the implementation of the project “Counter-Trafficking Training Programme for Religious Personnel”, a six-year project funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) – that allowed more than 500 Catholic women religious in 31 countries in Europe, Africa, South and Central America and Asia to be trained in the prevention and assistance of trafficked victims. The religious trained under this project have established the first inter-congregational worldwide network of Catholic women religious, called “Talitha Kum”, meaning in Amharic “Stand up, woman”.
IOM’s main counterpart at the Holy See is the Pontifical Council on Migrants and Itinerant People.
- Counter-Trafficking Training Programme for Religious Personnel – Enhancing local capacities of religious organizations/personnel active or willing to become active in counter-trafficking
- Participation in migration Fora organized by IOM and the Holy See
- Discussions on partnership and joint implementation of specific migration-related projects
Main text: October 2012
Facts and figures: March 2012