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Rome Reports

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Mediterranean lifeguards: Pope asks for respect for every human life

Refugees and migrants have become one of the greatest hot-button topics in Western governments.

While in the United States, Donald Trump intends to build a wall with Mexico, in Europe the tension is growing on the borders of Italy, Germany and Austria. The new Italian government does not allow NGO ships to dock in their ports, accusing them of cooperating with the traffickers, who profit from the refugees.

"Take a detour. The Italian ports do not even see you. Take a detour."

This situation put added importance on Pope Francis' Mass in Rome, which especially remembered the refugees and migrants who died at sea.

During his homily the pope made an unusual gesture of recognition. He spoke in Spanish to refugees and to the group of Spanish rescuers who have been working for years in the Mediterranean in rescue tasks.

"I want to express my gratitude for currently embodying the parable of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to save the life of the poor man beaten by bandits. He didn't ask him his origin, his reasons for travel or his documents. He simply decided to take charge and save his life."

One of the listeners was Óscar Camps, founder of Proactiva Open Arms. The NGO of lifeguards started saving refugees traveling from Turkey to Greece. Now they work off the coast of Libya.

Proactiva Open Arms

"Today the pope said that we have to get the courage of truth and respect for each human life that grows in each one of us. FLASH I do not think the problem of this migration crisis is three NGOs that try to save lives in international waters."

For many, Europe is the path to a new life, full of opportunities. For many others, it is the Promised Land in which they will never set foot. So far in 2018, more than 1,000 have drowned in the sea. There have already been more than 10,000 deaths in the Mediterranean since 2015.