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WCC mourns the death of migrants in Italy boat sinking

04 October 2013

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed “sadness, horror and concern” over the death of more than one hundred African migrants, who were on a boat en route to Europe which sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on 3 October.

“We mourn with their families and communities, and pray that God will comfort and sustain their loved ones. We hold the survivors, and all migrants forced to take these dangerous journeys, in our thoughts and prayers,” said the WCC general secretary in a statement issued on 4 October.

Tveit urged the “serious demonstration of a political will by those in power to put an end to the frequent occurrences of people dying at sea”. He said the chaotic political and economic situations in the region have bred desperation among people, as well as having provided openings for opportunistic criminals.

“Legitimate concerns over border controls by Italy and other European Union member states must never compromise the safety of those who, in desperation, take to the seas for refuge,” he said.

Tveit added that this tragedy is a reminder of “the dramatic divisions between rich and poor in this world”. These realities and the roots of migration, he said, must be addressed “together in the name of the God of life—for their sake, and that of the whole human family.”

WCC general secretary’s statement on Italy boat sinking

Information on WCC's work on migration and social justice