10 February 2020, The Tablet

Pope speaks up for Syria women and children

Pope speaks up for Syria women and children

Pope Francis leads the Angelus Prayer from his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, 9 Feb 2020
Evandro Inetti/Zuma Press/PA Images

Pope Francis has highlighted the plight of refugees fleeing Syria, in particular women and children.

At the end of the weekly Angelus in St Peter's Square, Pope Francis appealed once again to world leaders to help the thousands suffering as they attempt to escape and survive.

"Painful news continues to arrive from the north-west of Syria, in particular on the conditions of many women and children, of people forced to flee due to military escalation," he said.

"I renew my heartfelt appeal to the international community and to all the actors involved to make use of diplomatic instruments, dialogue and negotiations, in compliance with International Humanitarian Law, to safeguard the life and fate of civilians. Let us pray for this beloved and tormented Syria."

According to the United Nations, 500,000 people have been displaced in Syria since 1 Dec, with eight in ten of these being women and children. More than one million are fleeing for Turkey, which already accommodates more than three million refugees from Syria. The latest crisis is due to the Syrian offensive into the rebel stronghold of Idlib.

Pope Francis also referred to St Josephine Bakhita, whose feast day coincides with yesterday's World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking in Persons was celebrated. 

"To heal this plague, because it's a real plague which exploits the weakest, everyone's commitment is needed: institutions, associations and educational agencies. On the prevention front, I would like to point out that various researches show that criminal organisations are increasingly using modern means of communication to entice victims with deception. Therefore, it is necessary on the one hand to educate on the healthy use of technological means, on the other to supervise and call the suppliers of these services to their responsibilities."


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