Treatment Of Migrants To Take Centre Stage During Pope Visit
The treatment of migrants and the migration crisis in the Mediterranean will be a focal point of Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit to Malta next Wednesday.
Speaking at the Vatican, the Pope said “Dear brothers and sisters, next Saturday and Sunday I will go to Malta. In that luminous land I shall be a pilgrim in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, who was welcomed there with great humanity after being shipwrecked at sea on his way to Rome …[Malta] lies at the center of the Mediterranean and in the south of the European continent, which today is increasingly engaged in welcoming so many brothers and sisters seeking refuge. From now on I greet all of you Maltese from the bottom of my heart: have a good day” .
Francis has scheduled a visit to the Ħal Far Peace Lab, where a number of migrants in Malta live. NGOs who work with migrants have once again called on the government to treat refugees with dignity and respect. A report by the Council of Europe in September 2020 had flagged a “system that purely ‘contained’ migrants who had essentially been forgotten, within poor conditions of detention and regimes which verged on institutional mass neglect by the authorities”.
The pope is also expected to comment on the Ukraine crisis, which has created a large influx of refugees fleeing war all across Europe.