The G20 harms migrants around the world, Pope Francis said in an interview with Italian media, adding that there are “dangerous alliances between powers which have a distorted view of the world.”
“The G20 worries me, it hits migrants in countries in half of the world and it hits them even more as time goes by,” Pope Francis told Eugenio Scalfari, founder of Italian daily La Repubblica, as cited by Reuters.
The pontiff added he was concerned about “very dangerous alliances between powers which have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [Syrian leader Bashar] Assad over the war in Syria.”
“The danger concerns immigration. Our main and unfortunately growing problem in the world today is that of the poor, the weak, the excluded, which includes migrants,” he said, adding that wealthier countries “fear an invasion of migrants.”
“This is why the G20 worries me: It mainly hits immigrants,” the pontiff stated. Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, also said that as the “richest continent in the whole world,” Europe will always attract migrants, and urged it not to see them as criminals.
Pope Francis has also been outspoken about the widespread prejudice faced by refugees and asylum seekers, and has consistently criticized the EU’s response to the ongoing migrant crisis, comparing it to the mass exodus of people during and after World War II.
The pope’s conversation with La Repubblica followed his Friday message to G20 leaders, who convened in Hamburg for a two-day summit. Quoted by Vatican Radio, the head of the Holy See urged world powers to “give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture.”
He said that “states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility.”
Meanwhile, the pontiff went on, “this great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10 percent of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.”
Regrettably, however, “there is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts,” the papal message concluded.
The G20 summit is taking place on July 7-8 in Hamburg, with economic and financial issues topping the high-profile meeting’s agenda. Germany, the host nation of the 2017 summit, also pushed for a broader discussion of curbing refugee flows, tackling poverty and providing access to renewable energy in underdeveloped countries.