Sat. May 28th, 2022

Pope Francis condemned Europe’s fear and indifference to migrants during his second visit to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Pope Francis blew up Europe’s indifference to the plight of migrants as the “shipwreck of civilization” during a visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.

On Sunday, the leader of the Catholic Church arrived at the Mavrovouni camp, where nearly 2,200 asylum seekers currently live. He is on the second day of a five-day visit to Greece and Cyprus dominated by the issue 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 kills those on the margins,” he said. “Please, let’s stop this shipwreck of civilization.”

Using Latin terms, he called for the Mediterranean to remain a bridge between cultures.

“Let us not allow our sea (mare nostrum) to be transformed into a deserted sea of ​​death (mare mortuum),” he said.

He also condemned the exploitation of migrants for political purposes and lamented that Europe had entered an “era of walls and barbed wire”.

Pope Francis criticized Europe’s indifference and self-interest towards migrants [Alessandra Tarantino/AP]

The pope last visited Lesbos in 2016, when more than one million people crossed from Turkey to Greece and the island became one of the busiest. intersections. On that occasion, Francis brought 12 Syrian Muslim refugees at his home aboard the papal plane.

No such transfers were announced this time, but the visit to the camp nevertheless raised hopes among the residents, some of whom brought children into the world while waiting for their asylum claims to be processed.

Enice Kiaku, from the Congo, gave birth to Guiliain two years ago. He was born on the Greek island but has no identity documents.

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

Francis was greeted on his arrival by a group of African women who sang for him. He beat children and babies’ heads as he toured the camp and posed for selfies.

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

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

Greece has recently built a steel wall along part of its border with Turkey and is intercepting boats transporting migrants from the Turkish side.

It denies allegations that it is carrying out summary deportations of migrants reaching Greek territory, but human rights groups say numerous such setbacks have taken place.

Francis also listened to the camp’s residents, including Christian Tango Mukaya, a Congolese father of three, who thanked the pope for his show of solidarity and for his appeal to Europe.

The refugee said he lost his wife and their third child on their journey, hoping his visibility with the pope would reunite them.

Mavrovouni is a temporary detention center pending the construction of a “closed controlled facility” on the island.

This new closed camps, funded by the European Union, already runs on three other Greek islands, Samos, Leros and Kos.

Amnesty International has said that new EU-funded detention camps on Greek islands are in conflict with Athens’ obligations to provide international protection to those in need.

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