Pope Francis says migration is a reality during France visit
Pope Francis has called on European nations to showtolerance towards migrants during a visit
During a meeting of bishops and young people from Mediterranean countries, the pontiff said: “Those who risk their lives at sea do not invade”.
The address was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Last week’s mass arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa reignited the migration debate.
On Friday, France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin welcomed the Pope upon his arrival in Marseille, saying the country would not accept migrants from the island.
A total of 8,500 people arrived on Lampedusa on 199 boats between Monday and Wednesday last week, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
On Saturday, Pope Francis said migration is not an emergency, but rather “a reality of our times, a process that involves three continents around the Mediterranean and needs to be governed with wisdom and foresight.
There is a cry of pain that resonates most of all, and it is turning the Mediterranean, the ‘mare nostrum’, from the cradle of civilization into the ‘mare mortuum’, the graveyard of dignity: it is the stifled cry of migrants,” he said, using Latin terms meaning “our sea” and “sea of death”.
Rather than focusing exclusively on “preserving one’s own well-being”, he called for “an ample number of legal and regular entry points” for migrants, especially those fleeing war, hunger, and poverty.
In his remarks on Friday, the Pope reiterated his message that saving migrants crossing the Mediterranean was humanity’s duty.
“People who are at risk of drowning when abandoned on the waves must be rescued,” the 86-year-old said, warning governments against “fantasy of indifference” and “paralysis of fear”.