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Pope Francis urges Catholics to meet refugees

20 giugno 2017 | 15.15
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Pope Francis on Tuesday - World Refugee Day - called on Catholics to meet refugees, saying such encounters aid human development.

"The personal encounter with refugees dispels fears and distorted ideologies and becomes a factor for growth in humanity," Francis tweeted in nine languages to his 30 million plus followers.

A hallmark of Francis' papacy has been his solidarity with refugees and migrants and his calls for countries welcome them rather than building walls and fences.

In an address in St Peter's Square on Sunday ahead of World Refugee Day, Francis urged the faithful to not only welcome refugees, but to learn from their individual stories.

There are currently some 65.6 million people globally who have been forced from their homes, including almost 22.5 million refugees over half of whom are under the age of 18, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.

Nearly 20 people around the world are forced to flee from their homes every minute - the highest levels of displacement on record - UNHCR reports.

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