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The Pope once again shakes consciences at the drama of migration

At a time of tension in Europe over the management of migrant flows, the Pope Francisco wants to shake consciences by asking for solidarity and tolerance with migrants and refugees, the central theme of his next trip to Cyprus and Greece.

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On Sunday, four days before his trip, the Argentine pontiff illustrated the “map of pain” by describing the recent tragedies of migration recorded.

Francisco mentioned the 27 migrants who died in the English Channel, those who crowd on the border of Belarus, including many children, who are drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa, who are repatriated Libya, women slaves by human traffickers, and men tortured into subjugation.

The pope described as “even more regrettable” that “migrants are used more and more as a bargaining chip, as pawns on the chessboard, victims of political rivalries”, in a message sent Monday to the International Organization for Migration (OIM) on the occasion of its 70 years of foundation.

“How can suffering and despair be exploited to advance or defend political agendas? How can political considerations prevail when the dignity of the human person is at stake? ”He wrote.

– Against the ‘sleeping Christian’ –

Extremely sensitive to the issue, coming from a family of Italian immigrants living in Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio constantly defends the reception of thousands of “brothers and sisters”, without distinguishing between religion, condition, be they emigrants, refugees or exiles.

On December 5, he will return to the island of Lesbos, an emblem of the migrant drama, from where he surprised the world during his first visit in 2016 by bringing three Syrian Muslim families whose houses had been bombed on his plane.

A gesture that could be repeated since the Vatican is organizing the transfer to Rome of other migrant families camped in Cyprus, where the arrival of refugees has increased this year.

Francisco, contrary to what he calls the “sleepy Christian”, urged the “civil and military” authorities to contribute to solving this problem.

“It thus reminds all of Europe that it has a common responsibility, linked to the humanist and Christian roots of the entire continent,” explained Roberto Zuccolini, spokesman for the Italian Catholic organization Community of Sant’Egidio.

The entity has organized the transfer of 4,000 refugees to Europe, in particular from Greece and Syria.

– Walls against migration –

The fact that some countries have promoted a heavy-handed policy against the phenomenon, as occurs on the border with Poland, a nation that wants to build a wall, worries the leader of the Catholic Church.

“He is convinced that the phenomenon of migration is the greatest humanitarian disaster after the Second World War. For him there is a moral responsibility of the countries and he considers that it is not possible to remain passive in the face of this reality ”, says the Italian Vaticanist Marco Politi, author of the book“ Francisco, the plague and the rebirth ”.

The Argentine pontiff usually uses four verbs before this phenomenon: “welcome, protect, promote, integrate.”

“Francisco may have less echo because the issue ceased to be the number one issue for public opinion in Western Europe, which is now more concerned about the economic and social recovery after the crisis caused by the COVID,” warned Politi.

On Tuesday, 36 migrants aid NGOs, including Doctors of the World and the Greek League for the Defense of Human Rights, requested a meeting with the pope to inform him about the refugees in Greece, denouncing the living conditions in the camps. and the slowness of asylum procedures.

The UN estimates that 1,600 migrants have died or disappeared during the Mediterranean crossing this year alone.



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