Pope condemns treatment of migrants in Europe

The Pope has denounced “narrow self-interest and nationalism” over the way Europe treats migrants.
Speaking on the Greek island of Lesbos, where he met dozens of migrants, Pope Francis said they were being used for political propaganda.
He urged focus on the causes of migration, such as “forgotten wars”, instead of punishing those who feel their effects.
And he criticised the building of walls to keep people out.
“In Europe, there are those who persist in treating the problem as a matter that does not concern them – this is tragic,” he said.
“History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences.”
While the coronavirus pandemic had shown that major challenges had to be confronted together and there were some signs of this happening on climate change, there was little sign of such an approach to migration, he said.
“It is easy to influence public opinion by instilling fear of the other,” Pope Francis said.
“The remote causes should be attacked, not the poor people who pay the consequences and are even used for political propaganda.”
The Pope cited war, economic agreements “where the people have to pay” and the flow of weapons as factors leading people to seek better life elsewhere.
The number of people entering Europe reached a high point in 2015, when more than a million people fleeing the Syrian civil war and other crises made the journey.
Since then, numbers have fallen as nations along migrant routes closed borders. The European Union (EU) also agreed a deal to return failed asylum seekers to Turkey and has provided support for the Libyan coastguard to pick up people who set off to sea.
Last month, 27 people died when their inflatable dinghy sank in the Channel between France and the UK. The number of people attempting the crossing has been growing, with more than 26,000 people arriving in the UK so far this year, more than double last year’s total.
Several people have also died in freezing temperatures attempting to cross into Poland from Belarus, which denies accusations it has been orchestrating the crisis at its border to destabilise the EU.
And 1,650 people are recorded by the International Organisation for Migration as having gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year. -BBC

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