Rome- Dying of Hope
Ecumenical Prayer for those who die on their way to Europe
Rome, Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere, June 17th 2010
On the occasion of the World Refugee Day 2010, ACLI, Associazione Centro Astalli, Caritas Italiana, Comunità di Sant’Egidio, Federazione delle Chiese Evangeliche in Italia, Fondazione Migrantes, gathered for the 4th cosecutive year on June 17th for a ecumenical prayer to remember those who die on their way towards Europe. The prayer was presided by Mons. Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants. (text of the homily)
The participation was very high. Among the participants there were communities, associations of immigrants and refugees and voluntary groups.
Still today many men, women and children leave their homeland with the hope of being able to flee from wars, persecutions, diseases, famine. They try to reach a place where they can build a better future for themselves and their dear ones. However many of them die on their way, only a small group reaches Europe.
Just some data: over 1.000.000 people who were asking fro asylum in 2009 South Africa welcomed 220.000, France 42.000 while Italy only 17.000. The number of those who dies (only the certified) during the long and difficult trip has been of 15.000 in 2009(datas).
Our continent still raises walls to defend itself. The number of those who are able to reach the goal is tragically low. Only a few days ago we received the news of a large group of Somali refugees who drowned in front of the Mozambican coast while they were trying to reach South Africa.
Regarding Italy there has indeed been a drop oin the number of deaths. However this drop of deaths in front of the Italian coast shows that the policy of indiscriminate refoulement, does not contrast irrelìgular immigration but heavily infringes the rigth of asylum in Italy and in Europe. This policy modified the paths refugees take forcing them to the south. Thus many deaths are not even recorded anymore because they take place in deserts or in remote areas.
Forgetting, removing the problem or resigning to the normality of the tragedies of immigration, means to allow, once again, the death of many on their way to Europe.
The names and histories of some of the victims were remembered during the prayer. The names and histories of some of the victims.
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Comunità di Sant'Egidio - Fortress Europe