Solidarity on the Sea

Migrants rescued from overcrowded boats near the Libyan coast stand on an Italian Coast Guard vessel on Feb. 14.

Pope Francis once again urged solidarity with migrants who risk their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe; and during his general audience on Feb. 11, he assured prayers for the victims of a deadly crossing. The pope was responding to reports on Feb. 9 that 29 migrants had died of hypothermia after being rescued by the Italian coast guard. Later, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the loss of life in the Mediterranean over the weekend of Feb. 7-8 was feared to be as high as 300 people, including many children. Sarah Teather, a U.K. member of Parliament and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, said: “This is a tragedy, but European leaders can’t simply wash their hands in the waters of the Mediterranean and deny all responsibility. People are fleeing war. War on our doorsteps. And our response has been to systematically close down the safe, legal routes for people to find protection and to scale back methods of saving lives.”

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