Pope Francis on Sunday called on the international community to end the practice of returning migrants rescued at sea to Libya and other unsafe countries where they face “inhumane acts of violence.”
The Pope urged all state leaders to find concrete solutions to tackle migration flows in the Mediterranean Sea.
“I convey a sense of closeness to migrants, refugees and others who need protection in Libya,” he said quietly. He added, “I will never forget you. I hear your cries and always pray for all.”
Pope Francis made the statement after reading the Sunday Angelus prayer, as he usually does in front of the assembled congregation in St. Peter’s Square.
“How much more suffering must migrants sent to unsafe countries go through?” the Pope asked, before comparing it to some detention facilities in Nazi concentration camps.
Rights groups have strongly criticized Italy and Malta for abandoning migrants on overcrowded boats before finally sending them to safe ports.
Officials at the UN refugee and human rights body have long criticized conditions in detention centers for migrants in Libya, and referred to acts of beatings, rape and forms of torture, as well as food shortages. [em/jm]