“All these years, Greece has lifted a disproportionate weight from the immigration and refugee crisis, which is affecting the entire Mediterranean, the sea that unites us. However, its confrontation transcends national borders and is a common responsibility of Europe “, signed the President of the Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, welcoming Pope Francis to the camp of the temporary Reception and Identification Center in Kara Tepe, Mytilene.
“It is our duty, respecting the rules of international law and fundamental rights, not to allow the inhuman instrumentalization of immigrants and refugees,” said Ms. Sakellaropoulou.
The PD described the Pope as “a protector of the poor and the oppressed, a participant in their pain, a strong advocate of their rights.”
“Your presence here, stressed the President, indicates your most immediate and warm support to the homeless, the persecuted, the stripped of dreams and expectations. It is the message of hope and the strong responsibility that you carry and travel from Lesvos to the whole international community “.
In her greeting, Ms. Sakellaropoulou reminded that it is “the second time that the Pope visits, as a pilgrim, a place that was identified with the drama of refugees.” And where, as he said, “fortunately, the situation that prevails today is in every respect significantly improved with the one that prevailed during your first visit.”
Referring to the people of Lesvos and their attitude all these years, she stressed that “the island welcomed people who were forced to leave their homes, chased by wars, political persecution, extreme poverty, seeking a better life in other homelands. Faithful to their humanitarian duty, with the memories of their own refuge still fresh, the inhabitants of Lesvos showed understanding and solidarity. In similar circumstances, they fulfilled their moral obligation, being in the front line. The images of the grandmothers from Skala of Sykaminia, who affectionately feed a baby from Syria with a bottle to rest his mother, made the round of the world, as a symbol of humanity “.