“When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me.”
We are Christians from Italy and from other parts of the world. We came here representing our churches and ecumenical associations.
We came to Lampedusa to commemorate the victims of October 3rd, 2013 – the tragedy which caused the death of 368 migrants a few metres from the shores of Lampedusa.
We are here because welcoming those who knock on our door is at the heart of the Gospel message that we want to live and witness.
As representatives of our churches and our ecumenical associations, we are here to ask new migration policies.
We are here to say that there are alternatives to the dead at sea and these alternatives are the humanitarian corridors – safe and legal ways to reach Europe from North Africa.
We are here because we are committed to take action and put pressure on our governments and the European institutions so that they adopt reception policies that put an end to the immigration massacres, the brutality of human trafficking as well as the anguish and fear of thousands of desperate people who have been fleeing persecution, wars, violence and hunger.
We are here because we are committed to monitor the respect for human rights, the quality of reception, the effectiveness of the protection that moral and civil laws require us to grant to those who fleeing war and persecution.
We commit ourselves supported by what we have experienced in Lampedusa and by its spirit of hospitality as well as and the testimony of those who have recently landed Italy by a legal and safe way thanks to the humanitarian corridors.
Today, on Lampedusa, in this church, and with a renewed and inter-religious spiritual ecumenism, we are committed to again appeal to the international community, the European and world leaderships, to our sisters and our brothers still hesitant or indifferent to the suffering of migrants and refugees.
We ask everyone to look at these Mediterranean migration flows not with fear and selfishness but under a perspective of solidarity and law.
We launch this appeal from Lampedusa because this is not just an island
but it is the symbol of what we want for the future of Europe.
Like Lesbos, Ceuta, Melilla also Lampedusa is likely to become a place of barbed wire dividing and hurting Europe and the humankind. Or, perhaps Lampedusa may become the place in which men and women of good will build bridges of dialogue, cooperation and peace. And, it is this commitment that here today in Lampedusa we assume.
This is our prayer to the Lord: make us bridge builders, men and women who know how to open their doors and their hearts to those who look for protection and hospitality.
In a moment of commemorations and sadness, this is the commitment that today we have taken in Lampedusa.