World Bulletin/News Desk
Pope Francis called on Tuesday for countries to join forces to help the rising number of migrants, thousands of whom have died this year on perilous journeys to flee poverty and war.
The pontiff's message comes as seaborne migration from North Africa to Europe is at a record high and the United States is seeing a surge in the number of children from Central America attempting to cross its southern border.
"Large numbers of people are leaving their homelands, with a suitcase full of fears and desires, to undertake a hopeful and dangerous trip in search of more humane living conditions," the pope said in a message.
Francis called for "a universal network of cooperation", saying organisations around the world were making "laudable" efforts but that more decisive action was needed to ensure humane conditions for migrants.
On Sunday, 40 people were reported missing after their raft sank 30 miles (48 km) from eastern Libya, prompting Italian authorities to deploy their "Mare Nostrum" rescue mission.
Violence and political chaos in Libya has been exploited by traffickers who pack people, many fleeing the conflict in Syria or forced conscription in Eritrea, into rickety boats, charging around $1,000 for the passage.
Last week, the International Organisation for Migration said there had been almost 3,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean so far this year.
Libya's outgoing justice minister Salah Bashir Marghani said last week that Libya, where armed groups have seized the capital Tripoli, needed its neighbours to help solve the problem.
"We need to have a proper country to do (these) things. A country at war with itself can hardly have control," Marghani told reporters in Rome.
U.S. President Barack Obama has delayed taking executive action on immigration reform until after elections in November, having said the surge of nearly 63,000 children crossing into the United States from Central America in the past year had made Americans wary of new measures.
Rome has repeatedly called for more help from its European partners to tackle the emergency and the EU Commission has said its border control agency Frontex would reinforce Mare Nostrum.
Pope Francis also called for "a more just and equitable financial and economic order". His first trip after his election in 2013 was to the Italian island of Lampedusa, halfway between Sicily and Tunisia, where many migrant boats arrive.Last Mod: 23 Eylül 2014, 15:40