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News > World

Pope Francis: World Mustn't Turn a Blind Eye to Migrants

  • Pope Francis celebrates the Mass marking the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of the Poor, at the Vatican

    Pope Francis celebrates the Mass marking the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of the Poor, at the Vatican | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 November 2018

A report this year by Oxfam said 3.7 billion people, or half of the global population, saw no increase in their wealth in 2017, while 82 percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent of the global population.

Pope Francis criticized rising wealth inequality and the treatment of migrants on Sunday, saying the world should not ignore those “tossed by the waves of life.”

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“Injustice is the perverse root of poverty,” Francis said at a Mass marking the Roman Catholic Church’s annual World Day of the Poor. “The cry of the poor daily becomes stronger but heard less, drowned out by the din of the rich few, who grow ever fewer and richer.”

Francis also reiterated his support for migrants saying that people must pay attention to “all those forced to flee their homes and native land for an uncertain future.”

His remarks came as hundreds of migrants from a caravan of Central Americans were stalled at the U.S.-Mexico border after being denied entry to the United States, although Francis made no direct reference to the situation in the United States.

Earlier on Sunday, twenty-two migrants were reported missing in the waters off Morocco's Atlantic coast after their boat capsized, according to state news agency MAP.

Three people, all with Moroccan nationality, managed to swim to shore and alert the authorities after the vessel hit trouble off the southern province of Tiznit, the outlet said.

It did not give the nationalities of the others on board the boat and said an investigation had been opened into the incident.

Local media said the migrants had been aiming to reach the Canary Islands about 100 kilometers west of the Moroccan coast.

The Spanish territory was a key destination during the mid-2000s for migrants seeking to reach the European Union from North Africa.

The number of people making the journey in the Atlantic Ocean has since dropped, with more now trying to cross to Spain via the Mediterranean Sea to the north.

Moroccan authorities say that between January and the end of September they stopped some 68,000 "illegal" attempts to cross into Europe, denying these people's right to apply for asylum under international laws —a common tendency in Europe in recent years.

The International Organization for Migration says that some 50,500 migrants have arrived in Spain by sea this year, and that 566 have died or gone missing trying.

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