Pope Francis: Don't Send Immigrants Back to Libya

Pope Francis: Don't Send Immigrants Back to Libya

Pope Francis on Sunday urged countries not to send migrants back to unsafe countries like Libya.

Ummatimes -
In Libya, the Pope said, many people suffer in violent and inhuman conditions similar to those in concentration camps.

The pope's call for Sunday's blessing comes as EU leaders are struggling to work out their differences on how to deal with immigrants.

The immigrant problem strengthens the bargaining position of nationalist and populist groups across the European Union.

"We must put an end to the return of migrants to unsafe countries," the Pope said, citing "thousands of migrants, refugees and other people in need of protection in Libya."

Priority should be given to rescue at sea, orderly landings, options other than prison, and regular passage to immigration and asylum procedures, he said.

Francis called on the international community to "keep their promise" to find lasting solutions to manage migration flows in Libya and throughout the Mediterranean.

"Many of these men, women and children (in Libya) were subjected to inhumane violence," he said.

"How many of those sent home suffered! There are real camps there," he said, using a German word common in Italy when referring to concentration camps.

"I'll never forget you. I hear your cries," he said. This month, the United Nations human rights office demanded an investigation into what it called "unnecessary and disproportionate" force by Libyan security forces to detain African migrants, shooting dead some of those who tried to flee.

Francis was speaking a day after the final trial of the trial was published in Sicily. In the city, former interior minister Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's far-right League party, faces kidnapping charges for refusing to let migrant boats dock in the country in 2019.

The European Union has tightened its asylum rules and external borders since more than a million refugees and migrants reached Europe across the Mediterranean six years ago.

The European Union suspended deals with countries such as Turkey and Libya for people to live elsewhere along global routes.