African Migrants Crossing the Mediterranean

Wikimedia - Cortesia Guardia di Finanza

Vatican Councils for Migrants, Justice and Peace Discuss Migration

Forum Allowed for Sharing on Tragic Situation Facing Those Risking Lives Trying to Cross Mediterranean

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry
Top diplomats to the Holy See were invited on Wednesday to share their views and express their hopes and expectations regarding the tragic situation of migrants through a joint initiative by the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace and for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples has created a platform for African Ambassadors to the Holy See to exchange thoughts and ideas, reported Vatican Radio.

The aim of the platform is also to allow the diplomats to take proposals back to their Governments, seeing – as Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace points out – that a high percentage of those crossing the Mediterranean come from African nations.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Turkson alluded to a ‘deafening silence’ coming from across the sea as tens of thousands have fled Africa to encounter torture, exploitation, trafficking and even death.

Turning to this crisis, saying Pope Francis first raised the alarm when he travelled to Lampedusa and spoke of a “culture of indifference.” He also noted how this mass exodus has taken has caused the EU to hold a meeting and to confront how to address the challenge.

Although not everyone who is coming into Europe through the gateway provided by the Mediterranean, a good number of them are from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, Turkson said.

“Why is everybody talking about this and nothing is coming from Africa? We are not hearing the Heads of State, we are not hearing the African Union” he said.

Acknowledging the power of the ambassadors is limited, the cardinal said, “We still thought we can bring them together and create at least a forum, a platform for them to exchange thoughts and at least be able to suggest to their governments that the Offices of the Holy See feel this way” he said.

During their meeting, he said it was revealed that some governments have been making their voices heard, including Egypt. And organizations like ECOWAS and the AU have also expressed their view. Cardinal Turkson also stated that the discussion amongst those present placed a lot of emphasis on the global dimension of the phenomenon, and added that the problem of trafficking was also addressed as was the need for development in poor countries.

The ambassadors, Cardinal Turkson said, agree that: “If that is the case why should we not charge our governments to take a serious look at this?” 

He concluded pointing out that it is all very well for the EU and for the AU to meet to address the issue separately – and to come up with solutions – “but it should be possible to come together to discuss the problems together.” (D.C.L.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation