Pope Francis has issued a “heartfelt appeal” to European leaders, asking them to allow 49 migrants aboard two ships in the Mediterranean to land.
The pontiff said the leaders should show “concrete solidarity” to provide “a safe port” for the stranded migrants on humanitarian rescue ships.
Both Italy and Malta have so far refused to allow the ships to land.
“I make a heartfelt appeal to European leaders to show concrete solidarity for these people,” the Pope told about 60,000 people in the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square in an Epiphany feast day address.
Speaking during an Epiphany feast day address to roughly 60,000 people in the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said: “I make a heartfelt appeal to European leaders to show concrete solidarity for these people.”
He added that they were only “seeking a safe port where they can disembark”.
Thirty-two people are on board the Dutch-registered vessel Sea-Watch 3, that’s run by a German humanitarian group, which rescued them from an unsafe boat off Libya on 22nd December.
There are three small children and four teenagers included on board. The second ship run by the German group Sea-Eye is carrying 17 people rescued on 29th December.
Malta has allowed the two ships to enter its waters but only for supplies and to shelter from bad weather.
Last week, a number of humanitarian groups, including Amnesty International and the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, called on the European Union to offer a safe port to both ships.