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Emigrants' deaths seen as 'wake-up call for Africa'

Catholic World News - October 25, 2013

The tragic deaths of emigrants off the coast of Lampedusa is “a wake-up call for Africa,” a group of African Catholic bishops has said.

Over 350 emigrants from the Horn of Africa, trying to reach Europe, died in the most recent accident off the Italian island. The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) observed, in a note to the Fides news service, that it is noteworthy “that so many refugees from East Africa continue to risk the dangerous journey to Europe in search of freedom due to poor political and economic conditions in their countries of origin." SECAM pointed to the frequent terror attacks in Somalia and the lack of fundamental freedoms in Eritrea as reasons for emigration.

The continuing exodus of emigrants from Africa, SECAM stated, “reflects the depth of the malaise of a continent that is still dragging its feet to provide favorable conditions such as employment, education and good health.” The “endless violence” that afflicts the continent, and the frequent presence of illegal armed groups, contributes to the desire of many residents to find more favorable living conditions.

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