26th May, 2016
The life jacket of a six-year old Syrian girl who died at sea while trying to reach Greece has been donated to Pope Francis by a Spanish charity, in an attempt to raise awareness about Europe’s migration drama.
“Today we presented the dramatic reality to the Vatican, not the official version,” Proactiva Open Arms, the Barcellona-based organization that handed over the vest.
“It was one of the most touching moments of the pope’s audience in St Peter’s Square,” Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said in its own report of the event.
Proactiva’s Director, Oscar Camps told Spanish radio Cadena Ser that the child who wore the life jacket – which the pope received, along with a letter, while touring the square to greet the faithful died in December.
Camps’ organisation operates out of Lesbos, a Greek island which has been overwhelmed with refugees crossing over from Turkey.
Francis visited the island in April, and returned with 12 Syrians to whom he offered shelter in Rome.
Proactiva is planning to expand its operations with the deployment of a rescue boat off the coast of Libya, starting from mid-June.