Scalabrinian Sisters have denounced the inaction of governments after the “umpteenth” refugee tragedy in the Mediterranean.

– “The umpteenth signal to governments that crises have not stopped due to the Covid emergency and that it is appropriate to intervene”

“The umpteenth tragedy in the Mediterranean, which caused the death of 6 migrants, is the umpteenth signal given to governments in Europe and the world that the world’s crises have not stopped due to the Covid emergency and that it is appropriate to intervene”, Sister Neusa de Fatima Mariano, superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo/Scalabrinians, deplored in a press release quoted by the Fides news agency.

The religious was referring to the tragedy in which at least 6 people perished on Europe’s doorstep Wednesday after the rubber boat they were travelling in along with 111 other migrants and asylum-seekers fell apart in international waters off the coast of Libya.

Although humanitarian workers were able to rescue the 111 people, including two babies, they also recovered the bodies of another 5.

One of those two infants – a six-month boy from Guinea Conakry – subsequently died on board a rescue vessel.

– International Organization for Migration deplores “inability of States to take decisive action” to prevent migrant tragedies

The tragedy Wednesday came in the midst of a new wave of refugee disasters in the Mediterranean which has produced at least nine shipwrecks in total since the beginning of October.

This very Thursday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) confirmed yet another wreck which claimed the lives of no fewer than 74 migrants.

“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world”, denounced Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission, after the latest capsizing Thursday.

To date in 2020, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in their attempts to reach Europe.

Those figures are scandalous both for official Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano – which titled its report on today’s tragedy “An endless massacre in the Mediterranean” – and also for Sister Neusa de Fatima Mariano of the Scalabrinian Sisters, whose congregation has been providing support to migrants since its foundation 125 years ago.

“The volunteers involved in non-governmental organizations throughout the Mediterranean have proven themselves to be fundamental”, said Sister Neusa.

“Children, women, men in search of hope do everything they can to escape from their conditions of crisis [and] misery, where they are victims of violence”, the nun recalled.

“At a critical moment in their lives”, those refugees “find women and men” in rescue services “who have chosen to be by their side”, the religious celebrated, calling the rescue workers’ efforts “one of the highest and most beautiful expressions of solidarity and mercy”.

Sister Neusa concluded asking for prayers “for the victims – yet more people condemned to earthly torment for the mere crime of dreaming”.

– Pope laments “viruses of injustice, violence, and war” forcing too many to flee

As migrants were dying in the Mediterranean today, Pope Francis also rued that governments are not doing enough to prevent those kinds of tragedies.

“Nowadays too many people in the world are forced to cling to boats in an attempt to seek refuge from the viruses of injustice, violence, and war”, the pontiff lamented in a letter to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) on its 40th anniversary.

Francis told the JRS that despite the world’s indifference it is the job of refugee advocates to continue to stay by the side of displaced people.

“It is your vital duty to reach out the hand of friendship to those who are alone, separated by their families, or abandoned, accompanying them and strengthening their voice, and above all by ensuring that they have the opportunity to grow through your education and development”, the Pope wrote to the JRS.

Novena’s full coverage of the Mediterranean refugee tragedies:

From Novena’s partners at Pressenza International Press Agency: Asylum lawyer calls for “Nuremberg of the Mediterranean” to prosecute culprits of refugee “genocide”


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Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.