WASHINGTON (June 11, 1999) -- To ensure that Kosovar refugees are allowed to return to their homes "in security and dignity," the Chairman of the Bishops' Migration Committee today offered five principles to assist the efforts of the international community and humanitarian agencies.
According to Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio, Bishop-designate of Camden (NJ):
- Repatriation should be voluntary, and those who choose not to return to Kosovo should be offered alternatives by the United States and other countries.
- Repatriation should be conducted in a safe environment, including for Serbians residing in Kosovo.
- Refugees should be allowed to return to their own homes, and reconstruction assistance should be available for homes, businesses and infrastructure.
- The United States and the international community should implement a regional development plan to ensure the future stability of the entire region.
- Reconciliation efforts should commence. Holding responsible parties accountable should not result in the imposition of collective guilt.
"In the months and years ahead, the United States and the international community must make a renewed commitment to bring economic and social stability to this part of the world," said Bishop DiMarzio. "The Catholic Church in the United States and globally stands ready to assist in this effort and help prevent the recurrence of conflict which has brought such pain and suffering to the peoples of the Balkans."
NOTE: The full text of Bishop DiMarzio's statement is attached.