Pope urges - suffer the little children

2014-07-14 20:58
Central American migrants emerge from side streets to crowd onto the tracks, as a northbound freight train arrives in the station in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Central American migrants emerge from side streets to crowd onto the tracks, as a northbound freight train arrives in the station in Arriaga, Chiapas state, Mexico. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

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Mexico City - Pope Francis called on Monday for urgent action to protect and care for the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children migrating from Central America to the United States.

In a letter read by the Vatican envoy to Mexico, the pope said "such a humanitarian emergency demands as a first urgent measure that these minors be protected and duly taken in."

Papal envoy Christophe Pierre read the letter, dated 11 July, at a conference organized by Mexico and the Vatican on international migration and development, which was attended by the Vatican's secretary of state Pietro Parolin.

In his message, Francis noted that all migrants face threats but he stressed the particular dangers to the growing tide of children migrating to the United States from Central America and Mexico.

"This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain," the pope said.

He demanded "the attention of the international community to this challenge" and that measures be taken by the countries involved.

He called for policies to inform the public of the dangers of the trip north and to promote development of the migrants' countries of origin.

US President Barack Obama has asked the US Congress for $3.7bn to deal with the crisis but has encountered resistance from Republican lawmakers.

US authorities have detained some 57 000 unaccompanied minors since October, twice the number from the same period a year ago.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope francis  |  us  |  vatican city  |  mexico  |  child abuse  |  migration
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