On 24 June, 23 African migrants lost their lives as they attempted to cross the border from Morocco into Spain. Other migrants, currently numbering 76, suffered varying degrees of injuries in the same incident.
“The World Council of Churches stands with the families of the deceased, with those who have been physically and emotionally injured, and with the families of all migrants who are still in transit, who worry about the safety of their loved ones,” said WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca. “We are horrified that in the face of a disaster of this magnitude, anyone can think of blaming the migrants themselves.”
Sauca said that the WCC cannot, in any way, understand what threat these people posed to the Spanish territory. “We believe all people, including such migrants, have a right to life,” said Sauca. “One life lost in the manner that these lives have been lost is one too many.”
Sauca reiterated that the WCC shares in the frustrations and pains of seeing young productive lives lost in as yet unclear circumstances.
“That the migrants were African makes us feel and share the suspicion that racism might have also contributed to the disaster.” he said.
In another horrific tragedy, on 27 June, 53 migrants lost their lives in sweltering heat inside a truck that had been abandoned in San Antonio, Texas, in the deadliest such incident in US history.
“These two incidents, and there are many others from around the globe, show why this world needs to revisit our migration laws and policies and to address the root causes that drive people to take such risks to find a better life for themselves,” he concluded. “We believe every human being must have equal access to life in its abundance.”