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Pope in Geneva: “a country must welcome as many refugees as it can integrate”

“The prisons of the traffickers are terrible. These things were seen in the lager of World War II. Even mutilations, torture… They throw men and women into the mass graves. This is why governments worry that they (the migrants, editor’s note) will come back and fall into the hands of these people. There is worldwide concern. I know that governments are talking about this and they want to find an agreement, even to amend the Dublin Agreement”. Pope Francis said this at a press conference with some 60 reporters on the flight back to the Vatican, at the end of his ecumenical pilgrimage, which took place yesterday in Geneva. Talking about refugees, the Pontiff recalled the four verbs we should adopt with them: “to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate”. “Every country must do this with the virtue of prudence”, Pope Francis added. “Because a country must welcome as many refugees as it can integrate: integrate, that is, educate, give work. This is the plan. Here we are experiencing a wave of refugees fleeing war and hunger in many countries of Africa, wars and persecution in the Middle East”. Then, Pope Francis recalled that “Italy and Greece have been very generous in welcoming them”. For the Middle East, then, “Turkey has received so many”, like Lebanon and Jordan. The Pope also recalled the “problem of trafficking in migrants”. In particular, in the case of Africa, Pope Francis said, “the problem of hunger can be solved”. “Many European governments are thinking of an urgent plan to invest in those countries, to provide work and education”. Finally, he touched on the problem of immigration in the US, where “people leave the countryside to go to big cities”, but “there is also the internal migration problem”. As regards the situation of migrants in the US, “I agree with what the bishops of that country say”.

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