Pope Francis compares detention centres for refugees to Nazi camps
According to Rapporteur Report From, DPA, Link, Francis led a special service on Tiber Island in central Rome, called to commemorate modern-day Christian martyrs. In his homily, he veered off his scripted text to recall a meeting with a refugee during last year's visit to a camp on the Greek island of Lesbos.
"I don't know if that man is still in Lesbos or if he has managed to go somewhere else, I don't know if he was able to leave that concentration camp, because many refugee camps are concentration camps due to overcrowding," Francis said.
In a likely reference to the Dublin rules, according to which refugees should stay in the first EU country of arrival, and a deal between the EU and Turkey to slow migration through the Balkan route, the pope criticized "international agreements [that] seem more important than human rights."
The pope led the proceedings in St Bartholomew Basilica wearing a crimson stola that once belonged to Ragheed Aziz Ganni, a Chaldean priest killed in Mosul, Iraq, in 2007. Francis called martyrs "the living blood of the Church."
After the service, the pope met a group of refugees airlifted out of Lebanon under a Christian-sponsored "humanitarian corridors" project, and gave a brief open-air address to crowds in which he decried Europe's falling birthrate and its refusal to let in new migrants.
"This is called suicide," he said.
He praised the "generosity" of people in migrant landing spots like Italy's Lampedusa and Lesbos, and hoped this "could rub off a little on the north."
Before Francis' homily, friends and relatives of slain Christians - including the sister of Father Jacques Hamel, an 86-year-old French priest killed last year in an Islamist attack - spoke before a packed congregation.
The service was held in the run up to Francis' April 28-29 visit to Egypt, a country where Christians are under threat. Earlier this month, at least 45 people were killed following an attack on two Coptic Churches claimed by the Islamic State terror militia.