“He who comes asking for freedom, bread, help, fraternity and joy, who is fleeing hatred, finds himself in front of a hatred which is called barbed wire,” Francis told the migrants.
Pope Francis on Friday denounced the “culture of indifference” that the West shows migrants as the Vatican confirmed that at least a dozen asylum-seekers would be transferred from Cyprus to Italy in a gesture of solidarity with European countries that have received a disproportionate share of would-be refugees, AP reports.
The transfer, formally announced on the second day of Francis’ visit to Cyprus, came on the eve of his scheduled arrival in Greece, from where he brought a dozen Syrian Muslim refugees home with him aboard the papal plane in 2016.
The Vatican said the Rome-based Sant’Egidio Community, working with governments, had arranged to bring the asylum-seekers from Cyprus to Italy in the coming weeks. It said 12 people would be initially transferred. Earlier, the Cypriot Interior Ministry had thanked Francis and the Holy See for the initiative to relocate 50 people, saying it was a recognition of Cyprus’ inability to continue to absorb migrants and refugees.
The Vatican didn’t immediately respond when asked about the discrepancy, though presumably more could be relocated at a later date since Sant’Egidio for years has run “humanitarian corridor” services to bring migrants to Italy legally.
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