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Pope Francis Pope Francis   (AFP or licensors)

Pope prays for missing fishermen, appeals for nuclear disarmament and human rights

Addressing the crowds in St. Peter's Square for the Sunday Angelus Pope Francis exprssed his closeness to Indian families and communities affected by last week's Cyclone Okhi and he highlighted UN Human Rights Day which falls on the day in which the Nobel Prize for Peace is being presented to a group committed to nuclear disarmament saying that the upholding of human rights and the committment to eliminate nuclear weapons go hand in hand. He also looked ahead to a summit on climate change invoking the implementation of policies to safeguard our common home.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Sunday said he is close to the Indian communities of Tamil Nadu and Kerala States in the wake of Cyclone Okhi, and in particular to the families of the many fisherman who have gone missing since the cyclone swept those coastal areas.

Cyclone Okhi

Over 500 fisherman are missing and feared dead since the cyclone struck on November 29th.  The Catholic Archdiocese of Trivandrum and Tamil Nadu’s Kottar Diocese told Vatican Radio they are  “very much engaged in the rescue operation and relief work” in collaboration with the state and central governments, and are appealing to draw attention to the emergency which has not received the attention of the international and national media.

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The Pope’s words of closeness and concern came after the recitation of the Angelus Prayer in St. Peter’s Square.

Nuclear disarmament

Francis also mentioned that the anti-nuclear weapons group chosen to receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize will be presented with the award today.

“This recognition takes place in coincidence with UN Day for Human Rights” the Pope said, “highlighting the strong tie that exists between human rights and nuclear disarmament”.

He went on to say that “the commitment towards upholding the dignity of all people, in particular the weakest and most vulnerable, means also working with determination to build a world without nuclear arms”.

“God gives us the capacity to collaborate in building our common home: we have freedom, intelligence and the capacity to use technology, to limit our power in the service of peace and true progress” he said.

Climate change

Pope Francis also looked ahead to a Summit in Paris on Tuesday: “Our Planet Summit” which he said comes two years after the Paris Climate Accord.

“I strongly hope that his Summit, like others of its kind, may favour the clear awareness on the necessity to implement decisions that are truly effective in contrasting climate change, and in the same time fighting poverty and promoting human development” he said.   

10 December 2017, 13:18