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Those rejecting migrants must answer to God says Francis

17 giugno 2015 | 15.51
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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Catholics must ask God's forgiveness for all those who push back migrants, Pope Francis said on Wednesday, urging nations offer refugees "a home where they can live without fear."

"All of you - ask forgiveness for the institutions and individuals who are closing the door to people who are asking for help and protection," Francis said during his general audience in St Peter's Square.

After the Pope spoke, the bodies of two migrants were found beside rail tracks in the town of Menton on the French Riviera.

Hundreds of migrants have been stranded in the nearby Italian town of Ventimiglia amid France's refusal to allow asylum-seekers enter the country. Scabies is suspected to have broken out among around 100 refugees camped out on rocks along the coast, the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

Controls have also been stepped up at French, Austrian and Swiss borders with Italy, and asylum-seekers unable to leave Italy have been sleeping rough at train stations in Milan and Rome as well in Ventimiglia.

Italy along with Greece is the main landing point for an unprecedented surge in migrants crossing the Mediterranean, many of them fleeing conflict and persecution in Africa and the Middle East.

Italy has registered 60,000 migrants that have landed on its territory since the start of the year and is pushing for a change to EU rules to allow their redistribution across the bloc - a move resisted by many member states including France.

Several northern Italian regions including Lombardy are also refusing to take thousands of migrants that the government plans to relocate from overcrowded reception centres in the south.

The pontiff's remarks met with a scornful reaction from Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League Party.

"How many refugees are being housed in the Vatican?" Salvini said, speaking on the party's Radio Padania station on Wednesday.

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