Connect with us

World

Don’t send migrants back to unsafe countries, pope says, citing Libya

Published

on

October 24, 2021

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday urged countries not to send migrants back to insecure countries such as Libya, where he said many suffer violent and inhumane conditions similar to those in concentration camps.

The pope’s appeal at his Sunday blessing came as European Union leaders are struggling to overcome their differences on how to handle immigrants, an issue that feeds support for nationalist and populist groups across the EU.

Advertisement

“We have to put an end to the return of migrants to countries that are not secure,” he said, citing “thousands of migrants, refugees and others who need protection in Libya”.

Priority should be given to rescues at sea, orderly disembarkation, alternatives to prison, and regular paths to immigration and asylum procedures, he said.

Francis asked the international community to “keep their promises” to find lasting solutions to manage migration flows in Libya and all of the Mediterranean.

“Many of these men, women and children (in Libya) are subjected to an inhumane violence,” he said.

“How much those who are sent back suffer! There are real lagers there,” he said, using the German word that is common in Italy when referring to concentration camps.

Advertisement

“I never forget you. I hear your cries,” he said.

This month the U.N. human rights office demanded an inquiry into what it called “unnecessary and disproportionate” force by Libyan security forces to detain African migrants, shooting dead some of those trying to escape.

Francis spoke a day after the latest hearing of a highly publicised trial in Sicily where former interior minister Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s right-wing League party, faces kidnapping charges for refusing to let a migrant ship dock in the country in 2019.

The EU has tightened asylum rules and its external borders since more than a million refugees and migrants reached Europe across the Mediterranean six years ago and cut deals with countries like Turkey and Libya for people to stay elsewhere along the global routes.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

World

Pope says willing to go to Moscow to meet Orthodox Patriarch

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Philip Pullella

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Monday he was willing to go to Moscow for to meet Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill “brother to brother” in what would be the first trip by a pope to Russia.

The pair’s meeting in Cuba in 2016 was the first by a pope and a leader of the Russian Orthodox Church since the great schism that split Christianity into Eastern and Western branches in 1054.

Advertisement

Both sides have declared a willingness to work towards unity but they are still far apart theologically and over what role the pope would play in an eventually reunited Church.

“We are brothers and we talk straight to each other. We do not dance the minuet,” Francis told reporters aboard his plane returning from a trip to Cyprus and Greece.

“We have to move forward, walking and working towards unity.”

He said he was willing to go Moscow and that a top Russian Orthodox official was expected in Rome next week to decide the time and location of the meeting.

Francis said working out the protocols would be less important than meeting “brother to brother” with Kirill.

Advertisement

The Pope normally travels to countries with a joint invitation from its religious authorities as well as one from the government, meaning that Francis would most likely need an invitation from President Vladimir Putin to visit Russia.

The Russian Orthodox Church, the largest in Christian Orthodoxy, with about 100 million members, is closely aligned with the Kremlin.

Francis said the meeting with Kirill was “on the not too distant horizon”.

He said Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, who is responsible for the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations, would be coming to the Vatican to meet him to discuss where and when the next meeting can take place.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Alison Williams)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Yemen Houthis bury their dead as Marib fighting rages

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Adel Al-Khader

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis held military funerals on Monday for 25 fighters killed in battles with a Saudi-led coalition, as fighting shows no sign of abating despite intense international diplomacy to end the seven-year-old conflict.

The funerals took place as fighting has raged in the gas-rich Marib region, while warplanes from the coalition have intensified their bombing of Sanaa, Marib and other areas.

Advertisement

The Houthis have also stepped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia using armed drones and missiles.

An honour guard carried the coffins – draped with flags, flowers and photographs of the dead – with military music through the capital Sanaa. Relatives gathered to mourn their loved ones.

“We are in these days inspired by these martyrs’ pride and dignity and say to them: ‘congratulations! You have preceded us to a paradise as wide as the heavens and earth’,” said Ali Muhyaddin, a relative of one of the dead.

The war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands and caused what the United Nations describes as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

U.N.-led efforts to agree a ceasefire have stalled in the conflict, which is seen largely as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign invasion.

Advertisement

Houthi media showed fighters exchanging heavy artillery fire with coalition forces in Marib on Sunday as warplanes flew overhead. All the 25 fighters buried in Sanaa were killed in Marib, Houthi officials said.

The Houthis have launched a year-long offensive to take Marib, which hosts Yemen’s biggest gas fields. The city is the last stronghold of the internationally recognised government.

Marib is home to 3 million people, including nearly 1 million who fled other parts of Yemen after the Houthis ousted the government from the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014, prompting the Saudi-led coalition to intervene.

The number of displaced people in camps in the province has risen nearly 10-fold since September, with more than 45,000 people fleeing their homes as Houthi forces press the offensive, the U.N. migration agency IOM said last month.

(Writing by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Advertisement

Continue Reading

World

Putin and Modi discuss trade, humanitarian situation in Afghanistan

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Alasdair Pal and Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in New Delhi on Monday, with trade and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan both on the agenda.

Afghanistan’s takeover by the Taliban earlier this year has led to a humanitarian crisis in the country, which New Delhi and Moscow have both previously said risks destabilising the region.

Advertisement

“The fight against terrorism is also a fight against drug trafficking and organised crime,” Putin said in introductory remarks broadcast by Indian media. “In that regard, we are concerned about developments of the situation in Afghanistan.”

The visit by Putin and several top Russian officials comes amid increasingly strained relations between Russia and the United States, also a key Indian ally.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a deal to supply India with S-400 air defence missile systems was being implemented despite what he said were U.S. efforts to undermine the accord.

India and Russia are expected to cement several trade and defence pacts at the summit.

“The relation between India and Russia is truly a unique and reliable model,” Modi said.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending