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Pope Francis: It’s injustice that causes migrants to die at sea

Pope Francis meets recently arrived refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos and unveils a cross in the Vatican’s Belvedere Courtyard to remember all migrants and refugees who are forced to make perilous journeys in search of a better life.

By Lydia O’Kane

Two life jackets that tell their own story: The first one was given to the Pope a few years ago by a group of rescuers; The vest belonged to a girl who drowned in the Mediterranean. The second one, delivered to Pope Francis by another group of rescuers just a few days ago, belonged to a migrant who was lost at sea last July. No one knows who he was or where he came from.

The Pope on Thursday told 33 refugees recently arrived from the Greek island of Lesbos through a humanitarian corridor, that he had donated the first life jacket to the two undersecretaries from the Migrants and Refugees Section, at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, telling them ‘This is your mission’.

The Pontiff said he wanted it “to mean the inescapable commitment of the Church to save the lives of migrants, so that then we could welcome, protect, promote and integrate them.”

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Injustice that forces many migrants to leave their lands

ddressing those gathered in the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican, Pope Francis underlined that it was injustice that forced many migrants to leave their lands, and to suffer abuse and torture in detention camps. “It is injustice that rejects them and causes them to die at sea”, he said.

The cross a symbol of suffering and salvation

In the Christian tradition, noted the Pope, “the cross is a symbol of suffering and sacrifice, but also of redemption and salvation. Unveiling, what he called, a “crucified” life jacket on a transparent resin cross, Pope Francis said he decided to do this to, “remind us that we must keep our eyes open …, keep our hearts open …, to remind everyone of the indispensable commitment to save every human life, a moral duty that unites believers and non-believers.”

Read Also: EU headquarters built by undocumented migrants, workers claim

“Our ignorance is a sin”

“How can we fail to hear the desperate cry of so many brothers and sisters who prefer to face a stormy sea rather than die slowly in Libyan detention camps, places of torture and ignoble slavery?”, stressed the Pope. “How can we remain indifferent to the abuses and violence of which they are innocent victims, leaving them at the mercy of unscrupulous traffickers? How can we “go further”, like the priest and the Levite of the parable of the Good Samaritan, making ourselves responsible for their death” Our ignorance is a sin”, he said.

READ  Amid 2020 pandemic IOM supported over 2,500 migrants with voluntary return from Greece

Pope Francis went on to say that it is not by blocking the rescue ships that the problem is solved. “Serious efforts must be made to empty the detention camps in Libya, evaluating and implementing all possible solutions”, he said. “We must denounce and prosecute traffickers who exploit and abuse migrants”, the Pope continued. “Economic interests must be put aside in order to focus on the person, each person, whose life and dignity are precious in the eyes of God.” The Pope concluded by saying, “we must help and save, because we are all responsible for the life of our neighbour, and the Lord will ask us to account for this at the moment of judgment.”

Following the Pope’s discourse the cross was carried by two of the refugees where it was blessed and hung on a wall in of memory all migrants and refugees who are forced to make perilous journeys in search of a better life.

READ  Only 189 migrants returned to Turkey despite EU refugee pact

(www.vaticannews.va)

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Only 189 migrants returned to Turkey despite EU refugee pact

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  IOM assists border control on route linking Ethiopia, Kenya

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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READ  Lebanese police arrest employer of Nigerian sold into slavery
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