ROME — Pope Francis has called for an end to violence in Libya as well as the establishment of “pathways” for the hundreds of thousands of migrants wishing to travel to Europe.
“I am following the dramatic situation in Libya with great apprehension and sorrow,” the pope said at the end of his Angelus prayer in Saint Peter’s Square Sunday.
“It has been present in my prayer in recent days. Please, I urge international bodies and those who have political and military responsibilities to recommence with conviction and resolve the search for a path towards an end to the violence, leading to peace, stability and unity in the country,” he said.
“I also pray for the thousands of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Libya,” the pontiff continued. “The health situation has aggravated the already precarious conditions in which they find themselves, making them more vulnerable to forms of exploitation and violence. There is cruelty.”
“I call on the international community to please take their plight to heart, identifying pathways and providing means to provide them with the protection they need, a dignified condition and a hopeful future,” he said. “Brothers and sisters, we are all responsible for this. No one can consider him or herself dispensed from this.”
The United Nations released a report in late May declaring that hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees are currently residing in Libya while awaiting an opportunity to travel across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
“The global crisis caused by the pandemic is unprecedented and it is difficult to predict its impact on human trafficking and migrant smuggling,” the report stated, adding that the severe economic consequences of prolonged lockdowns could provoke a surge of migration from various countries.
“Information from Libya, where around 650,000 migrants and refugees are currently registered, suggests that the Covid-19 public health crisis has not discouraged people from trying to reach Europe,” the report noted.