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Pope Francis warns about the vulnerability of migrant and refugee children

"Child Migrants, the Vulnerable and the Voiceless.â? This is the powerful title of the pope's message ahead of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, next January 15. Pope Francis wants to underline the tragedy of forced migration, which affects one particular group more than any other: children and youth. CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIí? President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants "Children, unlike adults, do not have a voice. Children do not have power. How can they fend for themselves? This is a problem within the problem of migration. Precisely, the pope has wanted to underline this issue, so that our consciences open up to it, and we might be more sensitive to it.â? The pope asks that "every possible measure to guarantee the protection and safety of child migrantsâ? be taken, because they might fall into the hands of sexual or labor exploiters, or even might be recruited as children soldiers.  The war in Syria, Yemen, or Afghanistan, ISIS in Iraq, instability in Libya, Ethiopia or Eritrea have brought on a migratory wave of similar proportions to that caused by World War II. Half of the 65 million refugees in the world today are children. CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIí? President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants "These are scary numbers, unknown to most people, firstly, because people do not want to know, and secondly, because newspapers do not talk about it.â? So far this year, more than 3,500 people have died in the Mediterranean, many of them children, trying to reach European soil.The international community, however, looks the other way. In this message, Pope Francis is asking leaders to commit to "eliminating the conflicts and violence that force people to flee.â? CARD. ANTONIO MARIA VEGLIí? President, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants "Many countries in the European Union, not all, but some of them, have been very selfish, wrapped up in themselves. What have they done? Instead of trying to take in people, they have built walls. They told refugees. "Leave!â? "Where?,â? they asked. And the answer has been "I don't know, it is none of my business.â? This is not how problems are solved.â? That is why Pope Francis asks countries to favor integration instead of barring the entrance of these children and their families, and sending them back to their homes. He reminds people that "no one is a stranger in the Christian community,â? because "the phenomenon of migration is a part of salvation history.â? AC/AG MG - -PR Up:ag