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ICN - Independent Catholic News

16 Juni 2011

Rome (Italy) - Prayer vigil for Europe's 'boat people'


A prayer vigil will take place in Rome this evening, for all the refugees who have lost their lives trying to get into Europe. Since 1990 at least 17,597 people are known to have died on the dangerous journey from North Africa to Italy, Spain and Malta. The current crisis in Libya has led many more people to embark on the risky sea crossing in dilapidated and overloaded boats. In the first five months of 2011, 1,820 people are known to have drowned in the Mediterranean, of which 1,633 trying to get to Italy. The true death toll is probably more higher.

Many of the refugees originally came from subSaharan Africa, and would have made the long overland journey to north Africa on foot or by bus, to find work. As the crisis has escalated, they have found themselves in even more vulnerable, dangerous situations and many are desperate to leave by whatever means are possible.

To mark World Refugee Day 2011, on June 20, the Community of Sant'Egidio, the Astalli Centre Association, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, the Migrantes Foundation, Italian Caritas and ACLI, are holding a prayer vigil for all those who have lost their lives trying to get to Europe.

Entitled: 'to die of hope' the vigil will be lead by Archbishop  Antonio Maria Veglia,  President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and will take place in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere in Rome, on June 16 at 6pm. 

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