Pope Francis urges Europe to help 49 migrants stranded on rescue vessels

Pope Francis has appealed to European leaders to show concrete solidarity to 49 migrants stranded aboard a pair of rescue vessels.

Francis, addressing faithful in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, noted that the migrants, rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, have been waiting for days for permission for a safe port to let them disembark. The crowd applauded his words.

As policy, Italy’s populist government has refused to let private aid vessels disembark migrants, rescued from human traffickers’ unseaworthy boats, in Italian ports.

Malta is also refusing to let the boats dock or the migrants disembark, but has allowed the two boats to enter its waters for fresh supplies. Thirty-two of the migrants were rescued on Dec. 22; the others, days later.

Francis said he was directing a “fervent appeal” to the leaders to “show concrete solidarity toward these persons.”

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