Don’t exploit migrants for politics, pope says on Lesbos go to

Pope Francis has denounced Europe’s fear and indifference to migrants on his second go to to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Pope Francis has blasted Europe’s indifference to the plight of migrants because the “shipwreck of civilisation” throughout a go to to a refugee camp within the Greek island of Lesbos.

On Sunday, the chief of the Catholic Church arrived on the Mavrovouni camp, the place nearly 2,200 asylum seekers at present reside. He is on the second day of a five-day-long go to to Greece and Cyprus dominated by the difficulty of migration.

“I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference that kills, the cynical disregard that nonchalantly condemns to death those on the fringes,” he mentioned. “Please, let us stop this shipwreck of civilisation.”

Using latin phrases, he known as for the Mediterranean Sea to stay a bridge between cultures.

“Let us not let our sea (mare nostrum) be transformed into a desolate sea of death (mare mortuum),” he mentioned.

He additionally condemned the exploitation of migrants for political functions, lamenting that Europe had entered “an era of walls and barbed wire”.

Pope Francis has criticised the indifference and self-interest proven by Europe in the direction of migrants [Alessandra Tarantino/AP]

The pope final visited Lesbos in 2016, when a couple of million folks crossed from Turkey into Greece and the island grew to become one of many busiest crossing factors. On that event, Francis introduced 12 Syrian Muslim refugees home with him aboard the papal aircraft.

No such transfers have been introduced this time round, however the go to to the camp nonetheless raised hopes amongst its residents, a few of whom have given beginning to kids whereas ready for his or her asylum claims to be processed.

Enice Kiaku, from Congo, gave beginning to Guiliain two years in the past. He was born on the Greek island however has no identification paperwork.

“The arrival of the pope here makes us feel blessed,” Kiaku instructed The Associated Press. “We have a lot of problems here as refugees, a lot of suffering.”

Francis was greeted upon arrival by a bunch of African girls who sung for him. He patted the heads of kids and infants as he toured the camp and posed for selfies.

Pope Francis greeted kids in Mavrovouni camp on the Greek island on Lesbos. [Vatican Media/­Handout via Reuters]

He was accompanied by Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas.

Greece has lately constructed a metal wall alongside a piece of its border with Turkey and is intercepting boats transporting migrants from the Turkish facet.

It denies allegations that it’s finishing up summary deportations of migrants reaching Greek territory however human rights teams say quite a few such pushbacks have occurred.

Francis additionally listened to the camp’s residents, amongst whom was Christian Tango Mukaya, a Congolese father of three, who thanked the pope for his present of solidarity and for his enchantment to Europe.

The refugee mentioned he misplaced monitor of his spouse and their third baby of their journey and hoped his visibility with the pope may reunite them.

Mavrovouni is a brief holding centre pending the development on the island of a “closed controlled facility”.

These new closed camps, that are funded by the European Union, are already operating on three different Greek islands, Samos, Leros and Kos.

Amnesty International has mentioned that new EU-funded detention camps on Greek islands are in violation of Athens’ commitments to offer worldwide safety to these in want.


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