Prayer Point

July 2019 Prayer point: African Migrants crossing the Mediterranean

At least 80 people trying to reach Europe from Libya are feared dead after their boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia on Thursday 4 July (Guardian). Many refugees are fleeing war, violence or persecution.  The most common route in 2018 for African migrants was from Libya to Italy.

Many are smuggled across the Mediterranean on plastic rafts not designed for long-distance sea travel. Excessively large numbers of people are being placed on these rafts, often without life jackets, causing many of the vessels to sink, (Fouad Abou-Rizk).

Reportedly last year from January 1st to October 30th about 7 migrants each day died attempting the crossing, (Humanitarian Prayers). NGOs like MSF (Doctors Without Borders) operate ships in the Mediterranean to save those on non-seaworthy rafts. In June 2018 Italy closed its ports to migrant boats and rescue boats, which has been linked to an increase in the number of migrant deaths.

In Libya, migrants apprehended are often  basically imprisoned in deplorable conditions (Fouad Abou-Rizk). On Wednesday 3 July, an airstrike on a Libyan migrant detention centre killed at least 53 people. The UN and aid groups blamed the airstrike deaths in part on the EU’s policy of partnering with Libyan militias to prevent people from trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe (Guardian).

Please pray

  • For God to protect African migrants and refugees risking a dangerous boat trip to Europe.
  • That smugglers and traffickers whom migrants are forced to trust on their journey will not continue to threaten their lives by the lack of safety with which they force the migrants to travel.
  • For those put at risk of death in their sea crossings to be saved.
  • That rescue ships from NGOs will not be hindered in their efforts to save lives.
  • That migrants arrested along African shorelines, especially in Libya, will not be mistreated.
  • That migrants and refugees making this journey will no longer become entrapped in modern-day slavery.
  • Whether in Africa or Europe, pray migrants and refugees will be treated with mercy and compassion. That wherever they go or are taken, they will be met by people with resources to help them.
  • That neither governments nor individuals will see or treat migrants and refugees as a pest and that they will treat them according to international humanitarian law.
  • For improvement in the situations of violence and extreme poverty that these migrants and refugees feel they have no other choice but to flee from so they will be able to remain in their own countries while living a dignified life.                                          (Fouad Abou-Rizk/Humanitarian Prayers).