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"Do not lose hope" Pope tells migrants on Lesbos

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"Do not lose hope" Pope tells migrants on Lesbos



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  • Short but highly symbolic visit
  • More than 3000 housed in camp
  • Memorial service for those who have perished
  • Comes with a strong moral message but no solution

What is happening?

Pope Francis has been met with resounding applause as he gave a open-air speech on the harbour side in the Greek port of Lesbos.

Expressing admiration for the Greek people for the way they are dealing with the migrant crisis, the Pontiff made a heartfelt plea for responsibility and solidarity.

What did the Pope say in his speech?

  • Expressed admiration for the Greek people
  • Pleaded for responsibility and solidarity
  • Called for respect and defence of human rights
  • Says barriers create divisions that lead to confrontation
  • Called for action against arms trade and trafficking
  • Hopes the First World Humanitarian summit in Istanbul next month will be productive.

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Earlier, Pope Francis visited a transit camp housing thousands of people on the Greek island of Lesbos.

He has been joined by Patriarch Bartholomew and the Archbishop of Athens, Ieronimos II.

They have been welcomed at the Moria camp by hundreds of people.

Many were holding up banners asking for help.

All three want to show support for the refugees and migrants who are trying to reach northern Europe.

The Vatican is also keen to emphasise its support for the Greek community who are taking care of those arriving on their shores.

The Pope says today’s visit is to witness “the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War”.

What did the Pope say in his speech?

  • Acknowledged the “great sacrifice” people in the camp have made
  • Wants to draw the world’s attention to “this grave humanitarian crisis”
  • Urged the world to show “common humanity”
  • Drew parallels with the parable of The Good Samaritan

What difference will the visit make, in concrete terms?

The Pope comes with a strong moral message but no practical solutions.

The Vatican insists that the Pope’s visit is purely humanitarian and religious in nature and should not be taken as any kind of comment on the political situation.

However, the presence of three high-ranking religious leaders represents strong moral pressure.

Why are there so many people on Lesbos?

There are more than 3,000 people in the Moria camp. Some face being deported to Turkey under a new agreement with the EU.

Thousands of people are stranded on the island as a result of the deal signed last month between the EU and Ankara.

What they are saying

“This is a voyage marked by sadness. We will witness the worst humanitarian disaster since the Second World War.” – Pope Francis

“We will see so many people who are suffering, who are fleeing and do not know where to go. And we are also going to a cemetery, the sea. So many people never arrived.” – Pope Francis

“We have travelled here to look into your eyes, to hear your voices and to hold your hands. The world has not forgotten you.” – Patriarch Bartholomew


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