Cyprus: After Pope’s Trip, 12 Refugees will Arrive in Italy

Sign of the Holy Father’s Care for Migrants

Caritas Raises Concern
Ecumenical prayer with migrants in Nicosia, Dec 3. 2021 © Vatican Media

Matteo Bruni, Director of the Holy See Press Office, announced in a press release that, “in the next few weeks “ 12 refugees in Cyprus will be transferred and welcomed in Italy, “a humanitarian gesture” and a sort of continuation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to that country.

It is a “sign of the Holy Father’s care for migrant families “ and individuals, said Bruni, pointing out that some of them are migrants that the Pontiff greeted, at the end of the ecumenical prayer on December 3, 2021, in Nicosia’s church of the Holy Cross.

“Their transfer and welcome is possible thanks to an agreement between the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Italian and Cypriot Authorities, with the collaboration of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Holy See’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development and Sant’Egidio Community.

Migration in Cyprus

 The division of the Island of Cyprus is indirectly related to the problem of migrants, who disembark without controls in the Turkish part, to end up in the Greek part, which is a territory of the European Union. The numbers aren’t very significant in absolute terms, but they do weigh in percentual terms, taking into account that the population in the Greek part of Cyprus numbers about 800,000 inhabitants and that, according to agreements, the country can welcome a maximum of 1,000 refugees.

There is only one refugee camp on the Island. Caritas and the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who have a center in Nicosia — where Asians primarily arrive –, are in charge of their reception.

With Andrea Acali

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester