Published On: Sun, Apr 28th, 2019

Pope Francis appeals for evacuation of refugees in Libya camps

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Their situation ‘which is already very serious, has become even more dangerous due to the ongoing conflict,’ says the Pope

Published 9:39 PM, April 28, 2019

Updated 9:39 PM, April 28, 2019

POPE FRANCIS. In this file photo, Pope Francis attends a Eucharistic celebration at the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on February 24, 2019. Photo by Giuseppe Lami/AFP

POPE FRANCIS. In this file photo, Pope Francis attends a Eucharistic celebration at the Regia Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on February 24, 2019. Photo by Giuseppe Lami/AFP

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis called on Sunday, April 28, for the evacuation of refugees held in detention camps in Libya, particularly women and children, as fighting there escalates.

“I make an appeal that especially the women, children and sick can be evacuated as soon as possible through humanitarian corridors,” Francis said at the Sunday prayer at the Vatican.

Their situation “which is already very serious, has become even more dangerous due to the ongoing conflict,” he said.

A group of around 140 refugees is expected to arrive in Rome from Libya on Monday. (READ: Pope Francis urges Libya peace, return of refugees to Syria)

Humanitarian groups and international organizations are alarmed at the situation of thousands of migrants trapped in detention centers in Libya, as fighting rages between forces loyal to the Tripoli-based government of national unity and those loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar.

Libya, long a major transit route for migrants desperate to reach Europe, is home to around 6,000 migrants who are held in official detention centers, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Hundreds more are held by armed groups elsewhere in the war-hit country.

The UN and international aid groups have warned that thousands of migrants and refugees who fled violence at home and are now trapped in Libyan detention centers are facing enormous dangers and must be evacuated. (READ: At least 200 dead in battle for Libya’s Tripoli – WHO)

On Wednesday, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said it had evacuated 325 asylum seekers from the Qasr Bin Ghashir detention center a day after an attack against refugees and migrants. It was not clear who carried out the assault. – Rappler.com

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