Pope Francis visits the Italian island of Lampedusa and criticises indifference to the plight of other human beings
Pope Francis visited the Italian island of Lampedusa on Monday to commemorate thousands of migrants who have died crossing the Mediterranean sea from North Africa to reach Europe. He was welcomed by thousands of people. He spoke to young African migrants before celebrating mass in a sports field that served as a reception centre for tens of thousands of migrants who fled unrest North Africa in 2011. Charles Collins reports. During the visit to Lampedusa Pope Francis laid a wreath of flowers at sea in memory of the more than 20,000 migrants who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean sea while attempting to reach Europe. He also listened to a representative of the migrants who survived death. Speaking in Arabic, the migrant told the Pope that he and many others fled their countries due to political and economic problems. He recounted that they overcame many obstacles before they reached Lampedusa, including kidnapping by traffickers. He said for more than a year now they have been detained at the island of Lampedusa by Italian authorities who have refused them to leave for other European countries. He said Italian police had taken their finger prints and circulated them to other members of the European Union. He asked the Pope to use his influence to end their isolation.