Join me today in praying for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to reach Europe. My name is Fouad Abou-Rizk, and I am passionate about international crisis relief. I write Humanitarian Prayers to encourage people to pray for those suffering most in our world.
I pray that you Lord will protect the lives of African migrants and refugees risking a dangerous boat trip to Europe. I pray that smugglers and traffickers that migrants are often forced to trust on their journey will not continue to threaten their lives by the lack of safety with which they force the migrants to travel.
I pray that all those put at risk of death in their sea crossings will be saved. I pray that rescue ships from NGOs will not be hindered in their efforts to save lives.
I pray that migrants who are arrested along African shorelines, especially in Libya, will not continue to be mistreated. I pray especially that migrants and refugees making this journey will no longer become entrapped in modern-day slavery.
I pray that whether in Africa or Europe, migrants and refugees will be treated with mercy and compassion. I pray that wherever they go or are taken, they will be met by people with resources to help them.
I pray that neither governments nor individuals will see or treat migrants and refugees as a pest and that they will treat them according to international humanitarian law.
I pray for improvement in the situations of violence and extreme poverty that these migrants and refugees feel they have no other choice but to flee from so that they will be able to remain in their own countries while living a dignified life.
Notes and Explanations
For years, migrants and refugees (someone fleeing war, persecution, or violence) from all over Africa, the Middle East, and even Asia have been illegally crossing the Mediterranean Sea in a mission to reach the European Union and seek safety and economic opportunity. The most common route in 2018 is for African migrants crossing from Libya to Italy. Many also cross from Morroco into Spain.
According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration, about 105,000 migrants reached the northern (European) coast of the Mediterranean between January 1st and October 30th, 2018.
This number does not include migrants whose boats were stopped and turned away, and it also does not include the estimated 2,000 migrants who are believed to have died so far this year.
Many of these migrants and refugees are smuggled across the Mediterranean on plastic rafts which aren’t designed for long-distance sea travel. Excessively large numbers of people are being placed on these rafts, often without life jackets, causing many of the vessels to sink. NGOs like MSF/Doctors Without Borders operate ships in the Mediterranean with the mission to save those lives put at risk on non-seaworthy rafts.
In Libya, migrants who are apprehended are often detained, basically imprisoned in deplorable conditions. Due to the illegal nature of the trip across the Mediterranean, some smugglers with evil intentions lead those who pay them to reach Europe into human trafficking.
In 2015, over one million people, mostly refugees from Syria and Afghanistan, illegally made the crossing, mostly traveling from Turkey to Greece. Since then, there has been a massive backlash in Europe about migrants and refugees who cross the Mediterranean for a better life. Some are refugees, and others are indeed seeking economic opportunity but are not fleeing war, persecution, or violence.
In several cases, NGO rescue vessels have been prevented from docking in particular European ports because countries do not want to accept the migrants entering their nation. MSF/Doctors Without Borders stated that 70% of this year’s 2000+ deaths have occurred since June as a result of Italy generally closing its ports to rescue vessels and new European Union rules that have caused restrictions on rescue vessels going out to sea.
Kenya-born Somali poet Warsan Shire wrote a powerful poem inspired by speaking with refugees. One verse reads, “You have to understand, that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”
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