Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
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‘Serve, Accompany, Defend’: 40 years of Centro Astalli’s journey with refugees
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“I express my closeness to the thousands of migrants, refugees and others in need of protection in Libya. I never forget you. I hear your cries and I pray for you. Many of these men, women and children are subjected to inhuman violence. Once again I call on the international community to keep its promises to seek shared, effective and lasting solutions for the management of migratory flows in Libya and throughout the Mediterranean. O how those who are turned away suffer! There are real ‘lagers’ (concentration camps) there. We must put an end to the return of migrants to unsafe countries and give priority to saving lives at sea, with reliable means of rescue and disembarkation, guaranteeing them decent living conditions, alternatives to detention, regular migration routes and access to asylum procedures. Let us all feel responsible for these brothers and sisters of ours who have been victims of this very serious situation for too many years.”

These are the words Pope Francis, pronounced with gravitas after the Angelus on Sunday, October 24, as a new wave of migrants from Africa and the Middle East attempted to reach Europe after a drop in numbers due to the pandemic.

The substance of the problem is no different from the past. Nor has the stance of Pope Francis changed: these are people – not numbers! – driven to face high risks and suffering, in search of a free and dignified life, fleeing from situations that have become unbearable for them.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2021