Pope Francis Pledges to Relocate 50 Refugees to Italy During Historic Cyprus Trip

Pope Francis
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Pope Francis has made it his mission to help the refugees who have come to Europe for help and a better life.

Pope Francis has arrived in Cyprus for a historic visit to the Mediterranean island and announced that 50 refugees will be taken to Italy for help, The Guardian reported.

Cyprus has seen an influx of refugees due to its close proximity to the Middle East and North Africa.

Prior to arriving on the island, the Pope said in a video message that the refugees are “our brothers and sisters” and that they need assistance.

"I am thinking of those who, in recent years, and still today, have been fleeing from war and poverty, landing on the shores of the continent or elsewhere, and finding not hospitality, but hostility and even exploitation," Pope Francis said in the video statement.

The 50 refugees will be relocated after his trip to Cyprus but not before Christmas due to logistical reasons, Reuters reported.

Marios Pelekanos, a Cyprus government spokesman confirmed the news to Reuters.

"This is a tangible expression of solidarity by the Head of the Roman Catholic Church to people in need, affirming that the Vatican recognizes the problem that the Republic of Cyprus faces today because of the increased migratory flows and the need for a fair distribution among EU member states," he said.

Ahead of the Pope’s visit, the Cyprian government called for a state of emergency Monday due to the migrant situation. The government claims that 4% of their population is now migrants.

The Cyprian government says that migrant arrivals have risen 38% since last year. Nearly 11,000 migrants have arrived on the island.

Migrants have gone through the “green line,” which is a man-made border separating the Turkish north side of the island from the Greek south side following a 1974 ceasefire between the two nations, which was brought on by a Turkish invasion and followed by a Greek-backed military coup, Reuters reported.

The “green line” separates the island from the two Mediterranean nations claiming territory.   

More than 9,000 migrants have come through Cyprus through the “green line,” Reuters reported.

Pope Francis will be in Cyprus from December 2 through the 4th.

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