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Pope condemns Europe’s treatment of migrants during visit to Greek refugee camp

Pope Francis condemn Europe“indifference” toward migrants and refugees during his first visit to Greece.

Visiting Mavrovouni Refugees Camping on Lesbos Sunday, the Pope spoke to refugees awaiting approval of their refugee status.

His five-day trip to Cyprus and Greece was dominated by the theme of migration and Pope Francis’ call for European countries to show more solidarity with those in need.

He insisted that Europe must stop building walls, stoking fear and stopping “those with greater need from knocking on our doors”.

“Please, let us prevent this civilization’s shipwreck,” he said at the camp, which is awaiting construction of a “closed controlled facility,” funded by the EU.

Such camps have operated on the Greek islands of Samos, Leros and Kos, and have been accused of violating Athens’ commitments to provide international protection to those in need.

Amnesty International said: “In accordance with international and EU law, Refugees should only be detained as a matter of last resort.

“As we are concerned, the Greek authorities are concealing the legally ambiguous concept of so-called closed centers in order to illegally deprive asylum seekers of their freedom. France.”

The human rights group asked Greece to “urgently withdraw this decision and lift restrictions.”

Pope Francis said: “I ask every man and woman, all of us, to overcome the paralysis of fear, the indifference to murder, the contempt for cynicism that indifferently condemns death pictures of people on the fringes.

“Let’s stop ignoring reality, stop constantly transferring responsibility, stop handing the issue of migration to someone else, as if it doesn’t matter to anyone and is just a meaningless burden to be shouldered by someone else. .”

He warned the Mediterranean Sea not to “turn into a desolate sea of ​​death”.

Refugees at the camp are waiting for Pope Francis’ visit in the hope that he will help some people get to Italy, as he did during his 2016 visit to the camp.

Enice Kiaku from Congo, whose two-year-old son was born in Lesbos, said: “It is a blessing for us that the pope is here.

“We have a lot of problems here as refugees, a lot of suffering.

“The pope’s presence here makes us feel lucky, because we hope the pope will take us with him because here we suffer.”

The AP news agency reports that so far, no refugees have been taken out of the camp by Pope Francis on Sunday, and he returned to the Vatican on Monday.

However, during the Pope’s visit to Cyprus, the Vatican announced that 12 migrants who had crossed from Turkey’s breakaway northern Cyprus would be transferred to Italy in the coming weeks.

Cypriot officials, who insist the European Union island nation cannot accept more migrants, said a total of 50 would eventually be sent.

Addressing Pope Francis, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou defended Greece’s response to the migration crisis.

“It is a powerful message of hope and responsibility conveyed from Lesbos to the international community,” she said.

Greece’s migration minister Notis Mitarachi also defended Greece’s response on Sunday, saying it had responded “altruistically” to the 2015 crisis and was continuing to provide protection. for asylum seekers.

He asked the EU to do more to help frontline countries like Greece.

AP Supplemental Report

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-migrant-crisis-greece-b1970231.html Pope condemns Europe’s treatment of migrants during visit to Greek refugee camp

JACLYN DIAZ

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