Don’t use migrants as pawns in political strategies, Pope tells governments

Pope Francis said on Monday that migrants were being exploited as “pawns” on a political chessboard in an apparent reference to the crisis at the Belarus border.

Thousands of migrants are stuck on the European Union’s eastern frontier in what the EU says is a crisis Minsk engineered by distributing Belarusian visas in the Middle East, flying them in and letting them go to the border.

In a video message for the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) 70th anniversary, Francis said denying migrants their basic dignity was against the tenets of most religions.

“Even more regrettable is the fact that migrants are increasingly being used as bargaining chips, as pawns on a chessboard, victims of political rivalries,” Francis said.

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