Pape François dénonce le « fanatisme de l’indifférence » face aux risques que prennent les migrants lors de voyages périlleux en bateau depuis l’Afrique du Nord vers l’Europe, au milieu des débats politiques grandissants sur la migration.

Le pape a inauguré une visite nocturne à Marseille en présidant un moment de prière silencieuse dans un mémorial dédié aux marins et aux personnes décédées en mer, entouré de leaders religieux et d’organisations de sauvetage de migrants de cette ville portuaire méditerranéenne.

Il a déclaré que ceux qui risquaient de se noyer en mer « doivent être secourus », qualifiant cela de « devoir de l’humanité, devoir de la civilisation ». Ceux qui entravaient le sauvetage des personnes en mer commettaient un « geste de haine ».

Il a souligné qu’il ne faut pas considérer les personnes qui meurent en mer comme de simples chiffres, ce sont des « noms et des visages », des « vies brisées ».

Points importants de l’article :

  • Le pape François dénonce le « fanatisme de l’indifférence » face aux risques pris par les migrants lors des voyages en bateau de l’Afrique du Nord à l’Europe.
  • Il affirme que sauver les personnes en danger en mer est un devoir de l’humanité et de la civilisation, tandis que ceux qui entravent les secours commettent un « geste de haine ».
  • Le pape met en avant l’importance de considérer les migrants comme des personnes avec des noms, des visages et des vies brisées.
  • Il visite Marseille pour transmettre un message de tolérance sur la question de la migration, alors que l’approche de l’Europe envers les demandeurs d’asile fait l’objet d’une vive controverse.
  • L’UE annonce une augmentation des fonds pour aider le gouvernement tunisien à lutter contre les passeurs de migrants et à accélérer la mise en œuvre du pacte migratoire controversé conclu avec ce pays.
  • Les conditions difficiles qui poussent les gens à quitter leur foyer et les risques qu’ils prennent sont des thèmes clés pour le pape François depuis son arrivée à la tête de l’Église catholique.
  • La visite du pape à Marseille vise à envoyer un message au-delà des fidèles catholiques à l’Europe, à l’Afrique du Nord et au-delà.

L’article précise que le pape François a été accueilli à Marseille par le Premier ministre français, Élisabeth Borne, et qu’il a été conduit à la basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde où il a présidé une prière. Le président français Emmanuel Macron devrait rencontrer le pape pour des entretiens individuels avant d’assister à une messe avec près de 60 000 personnes. Après le débarquement de 8 500 personnes à Lampedusa en trois jours, l’UE a promis une aide supplémentaire à Rome.

Original article:

Pope Francis has decried what he called the “fanaticism of indifference” as people risked their lives on dangerous journeys by boat from north Africa to Europe, amid growing political debate over migration.

Opening an overnight visit to Marseille, the pontiff presided over a silent moment of prayer at a memorial dedicated to sailors and people who died at sea, surrounded by faith leaders and migrant rescue organisations from the Mediterranean port city.

He said those who risked drowning at sea “must be rescued”, calling it a “duty of humanity, a duty of civilisation”. Those who impeded the rescue of people at sea were committing a “gesture of hate”.

He said we must not just think of the people dying at sea as numbers, they are “names and faces”, “lives broken”.

Francis arrived in Marseille on Friday promising a message of tolerance on migration, amid a bitter row over Europe’s approach to asylum seekers.

There has been heated debate in Europe over how to share responsibility for people arriving on boats from north Africa.

Speaking to reporters on the plane to Marseille, Francis was asked about the boats landing on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of people arrived last week, briefly outnumbering the resident population. “Cruelty, a lack of humanity. A terrible lack of humanity,” Francis said, according to a report by Associated Press.

The EU announced on Friday that it would increase funds to help the Tunisian government crack down on criminal people-smugglers and accelerate delivery of the controversial migration pact that it made with the north African country this summer.

This week it emerged that criminal smuggling activities had quadrupled in Tunisia this year, with more than 120,000 people making to Italy since 1 January.

The European Commission announced it was increasing support from the €105m agreed in July to €127m, and unlocking €60m immediately for Tunisia. The decision to bring forward the discharge of funds comes as questions were beginning to be asked about the increase in migration from Tunisia since the commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, signed the deal.

The difficult conditions that cause many people to leave their homes, and the risks they take in doing so, have been a key theme during Francis’s decade as head of the Catholic church.

Speaking at the Vatican on Sunday, he said migration “represents a challenge that is not easy … but which must be faced together”. He emphasised the need for “fraternity, putting human dignity and real people, especially those most in need, in first place”.

The pope’s position on migration stands in contrast to some countries in Europe that are emphasising border fences, repatriations and the possibility of a naval blockade to keep refugees out.

At Marseille airport, the pontiff was wheeled towards the French prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, who was waiting on the airport tarmac to greet him, Agence France-Presse reported. He then stood up to acknowledge the welcome of a military band.

Bells rang out from Marseille’s Notre Dame de la Garde basilica as the pope headed there to lead a prayer, before he was due to hold an interfaith prayer at a nearby monument dedicated to those who had died at sea.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 28,000 people have died trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean since 2014.

Francis is presiding over the closing session of a gathering of Mediterranean Catholic bishops but his visit to Marseille is aimed at sending a message well beyond the Catholic faithful to Europe, north Africa and beyond.

It is the first visit by a pope to France’s second largest city in 500 years. More than 100,000 people are expected to turn out to see the 86-year-old pontiff in his popemobile on Saturday.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, will meet the pontiff for one-to-one talks on Saturday before attending a mass with almost 60,000 people.

After 8,500 people landed on Lampedusa in three days, the EU promised more help for Rome. But France, amid wrangling over a draft law on immigration that is due this autumn, said it would not accept anyone from the island.

“We are expecting very strong words” from the pope, said François Thomas, the head of the Marseille-based SOS Mediterranée, which operates a migrant rescue boat. “It is our humanity that is sinking if Europe does not do something.”

Meanwhile, some on the French far right took aim at the pope’s welcoming message on immigration. Marion Maréchal, the niece of Marine Le Pen and a candidate for European parliament elections next year for the Reconquête party led by the far-right TV pundit Éric Zemmour, said last week: “I disagree with Pope Francis. He has the prism of a South American pope who doesn’t actually know the type of immigration we know and who clearly doesn’t fully realise what we’re dealing with.”

Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report