Refugees chief meets Pope Francis to discuss global displacement crisis
ROME, Italy – Pope Francis discussed the plight of millions of forcibly displaced people around the world with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Thursday, during a private audience in Vatican City.
Grandi expressed his deep appreciation for the Pope’s strong advocacy and support for refugees and internally displaced people and spoke of the unprecedented figure of 65 million forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and violence.
The Pope and the High Commissioner shared their concern over the magnitude of the humanitarian crises around the world. Grandi noted in particular the situation in the broader Middle East, Europe, North Africa and Sub-Saharan African regions, which host at least 12 major conflicts, most of them producing displacement of a catastrophic nature.
The two also discussed the situation in Latin America and the progress made in Colombia with the recent peace agreement, along with their concern over the tens of thousands who have fled gang-related and other forms of violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America.
The High Commissioner informed the Pope that he is travelling to New York to attend the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, which will be held at the General Assembly on September 19. Grandi said to Pope Francis that he sees the meeting as an opportunity for leaders to focus on displacement issues and expects it will help to enhance protection for those forcibly displaced and otherwise on the move.
"The Pope has long been a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers," Grandi said. "His voice gives strength to the weak and hope to the marginalized."