Benedict XVI Laments Immigrant Deaths at Sea

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 5, 2009 ( Benedict XVI is expressing «deep sorrow» for the recent deaths of African migrants at sea.

The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus in St. Peter’s Square.

«I would like to remember,» he stated, «with deep sorrow, our African brothers and sisters, who met their deaths a few days ago in the Mediterranean Sea, while they were trying to find refuge in Europe.»

The tragedy, reported last week, took place off the coast of Libya, when a boat with some 250 immigrants attempting to reach Europe capsized. Though authorities rescued around 20 people, hundreds are still missing.

The Pontiff asserted: «We cannot resign ourselves to such tragedies that, unfortunately, repeat themselves time and time again!

The phenomenon’s dimensions make coordinated strategies between the European Union and African countries more and more urgent, as well as the adoption of adequate humanitarian measures to impede migrants having recourse to lawless traffickers.

He concluded, «As I pray for the victims, that the Lord welcome them into his peace, I would like to observe that this problem, subsequently aggravated by the global crisis, will be solved only when African populations can relieve themselves from suffering and wars with the help of the international community.»

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Full text of Angelus address:

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