Pope visits LampedusaListen /
Pope Francis, during a highly symbolic visit to Italy’s Lampedusa Island on Monday, called for understanding and solidarity for the thousands of people who risk their lives every year on the high seas in search of a better life.
Lampedusa Island, Italy has become a primary European entry point for migrants, mainly from Africa.
The Pope told those who gathered to meet him that he had been moved to come to the island after learning that at least 10 people had died when their boat foundered on June 17.
In a brief memorial ceremony, the Pope cast a floral wreath into the sea off Lampedusa in memory of those who have died attempting to reach the island from North Africa.
He called for more understanding for those who flee their homes in search of hope and a better place for their families.
Pope Francis cautioned against the indifference shown towards the suffering of migrants who put their lives at risk and who face the dangers of smugglers.
According to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, the Pope has long been a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers.
Gerry Adams, United Nations