Pope: Migrant Sea Deaths ‘an Open Wound on Our Humanity’

Pope: Migrant Sea Deaths ‘an Open Wound on Our Humanity’

August 15, 2023

In his Angelus message Sunday in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis called for more effective aid to migrants trying to reach European shores, decrying the death toll of those attempting the perilous journey from north Africa to Italy.

“Another tragic shipwreck happened a few days ago in the Mediterranean – forty-one people lost their lives. I have prayed for them,” the pontiff told the crowd. “And sadly and shamefully we must say that from the beginning of this year, almost two thousand men, women and children have already died trying to reach Europe,” he declared, calling the situation “an open wound on our humanity.”

As of Sunday, 96,791 immigrants have traveled across the Mediterranean Sea into Italy in 2023, more than double the number (47,117) who had arrived by this date in 2022, according to figures provided by the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). As of August 13, some 2,175 people were reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year.

“I encourage the political and diplomatic powers that are trying to heal this in a spirit of solidarity and fraternity, as well as the dedication of all those who are working to prevent shipwrecks and are aiding migrants,” the pope concluded.

But Francesco Magnano, the director of the Reception Center for Asylum Seekers (CARA) of Mineo, said that left-wing “do-gooder” activists’ helped lead to thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean.

“From 2014 to 2017, our ports have been opened without limits and we have recorded 15,000 deaths at sea,” Magnano said, adding that closing the border would “force Germany and France to sit down at the negotiating table.”

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