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Rome Reports

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Mussie Zerai, the priest who saves the life of refugees thanks to a mobile phone

His intervention was essential to saving the lives of thousands of refugees. He is their guardian angel. The barges that are left adrift in the Mediterranean can expect two things: to either trust that a boat will come to their rescue or call this Eritrean priest by chance.


"In Libya, they left my phone number written on the wall of a refugee detention center. They wrote: call this number for any emergency. Once they were released, the first ones to call me did so at three in the morning. They were at sea adrift and the engine had broken down. Mussie Zerai contacted the Italian Coast Guard and thanks to him, they came to their aid.

This episode happened in 2003. Since then, he has continued to report abuse, rape, and torture suffered by thousands of other refugees that have risked their lives. Human trafficking and the selling of organs is something that also favors migration. The situation allows for traffickers to pray on refugees.   


"Europe is spending a lot of money senselessly. Traffickers earn one billion dollars a year and Europe spends all that money to defend refugee arrivals without any success. Moreover, the more you try to close the borders, the more of an incentive it becomes for traffickers. They organized more dangerous and expensive alternative routes. They are very grateful to Europe for the closed-door policy.  

Mussie Zerai proposes that governments allocate more funds to promote humanitarian corridors and less money on unsuccessfully defending refugees.  

His dedication to more than 10 years of helping refugees have earned him the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.