Pope Francis met with hundreds of refugees Saturday as he tried to promote legal immigration routes to Europe as an alternative to smuggling, which he said had turned the Mediterranean into a “cemetery”.
Francis said the “humanitarian corridors” operating in Italy since 2016 had saved lives and helped newly arrived migrants acclimate, while church groups provided housing, education and job opportunities.
“Humanitarian corridors are not only aimed at bringing refugees to Italy and other European countries, rescuing them from uncertainty, danger and endless waiting; they are also aimed at integration,” he said.
Families from Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda and Ukraine met the Pope in the Vatican auditorium.
Oliver Kabalisa, 22, from Rwanda, said: “For me, coming here to show the world that humanitarian corridors are one of the most beautiful things in the world, for those who deserve safety and dignity People provide something important.” , “Because as refugees we leave our country not because we want to, but because we are bound, we are forced to leave.”
Afghan refugee Nazani Shakvulla says women in her country are suffering, barred from education, work and travel, and need help from the Vatican and charities “to support humanitarian corridors and find ways to evacuate or find ways for Afghan girls to get help” “.