The deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean are an "open wound in our humanity", Pope Francis said on Sunday, after a series of deadly shipwrecks.
During the weekly Angelus prayer, the 86-year-old pontiff said he prayed for the 41 people who went missing this week, according to the testimonies of four survivors rescued at sea and landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday.
François recalled "with pain and shame" the figures of the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), which on Saturday recorded "at least 2.060 deaths" of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of the year.
More than 1.800 of these victims perished in the central Mediterranean, between North Africa and Italy, the deadliest migratory route in the world.
"It's an open wound in our humanity," the pope told the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
"I offer my encouragement to politicians and diplomats who seek to heal it, in a spirit of solidarity and brotherhood," he added.
He also praised "the commitment of all those who work to prevent shipwrecks and rescue" people at sea.
Francis, who regularly urges better treatment for those fleeing their homes for a better life elsewhere, had earlier warned this week of the risk of becoming "indifferent" to deaths.
On Saturday, two Tunisians seeking emigration, including a baby, died and five were reported missing in the sinking of their boat off the Tunisian coast, where eleven bodies of sub-Saharan migrants had been recovered at the end of the last week, and 44 people missing.
The IOM also announced on August 6 that at least thirty migrants were missing in the sinking of two boats off Lampedusa, according to testimonies from survivors.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)