Pope ends Mediterranean trip defending refugee rights

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ATHENS (Reuters) – Pope Francis heard from younger individuals together with youngsters of migrants who’ve fled struggle or poverty at a college in Athens on Monday, as he wrapped up a trip to the Mediterranean wherein he defended the rights of refugees and condemned those that exploit their plight for political achieve.

The pope’s final occasion in Greece was a go to to a Catholic-run faculty the place he listened to accounts from a number of college students, together with 12-year-old Aboud Gabro, whose household left Syria after their home in Aleppo took a direct hit by a bomb in 2014.

He urged additionally the youngsters to grow to be social themselves as a substitute of slaves of social media and “prisoners of the cell telephones of their fingers”.

During a five-day go to to Cyprus and Greece, Francis returned to Lesbos, the Greek island on the forefront of Europe’s migration disaster when it started in 2015, lamenting that “little has modified” since his earlier go to there.

Speaking from the island’s migrant camp, Francis known as the Mediterranean, the place hundreds have drowned making an attempt to make the crossing to Europe, “a grim cemetery with out tombstones”.

Greece, and extra not too long ago Cyprus, are the primary gateways into the European Union for individuals making an attempt to flee struggle and poverty within the Middle East and past.

Nearly one million individuals, largely Syrians, crossed to Greece from Turkey in 2015, earlier than travelling to wealthier northern European nations, the place their arrival has fuelled assist for populists and far-right teams.

At an emotional assembly with migrants in Cyprus, Francis in contrast the circumstances wherein migrants are held in Libya and elsewhere to these in Nazi and Soviet camps.

The pontiff organized to have 50 migrants residing in Cyprus relocated to Rome.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and Philip Pullella; Editing by Alex Richardson)



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