© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nsoe Claudine, 29, from Cameroon sits with her son Prince, 1,5-year-old, outside the hotspot, a reception center for irregular migrants, on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italy, September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Francis was moved as he was shown a picture of a migrant child by Reuters photographer Yara Nardi during his flight to a Church conference on Mediterranean issues in Marseilles, France.
Nardi, who was travelling with the Pope, showed the large-sized picture to Francis as he was greeting media correspondents during the flight from Rome on Friday.
“He was immediately moved, as soon as I took it out of the envelope,” Nardi said, adding silence fell among the aircraft’s passengers and Francis had commented: “They keep them in Libyan detention camps, then they throw them to sea”.
The picture – which Nardi took the previous week on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa – is a close-up shot of the eyes of 18-month old Prince, a child who accompanied by his mother Claudine Nsoe had come from Cameroon along with thousands of others who arrived in recent weeks by sea from North Africa.
“He shook my hand and kept the photo,” she said.
On Saturday in Marseilles Pope Francis condemned “belligerent nationalisms” and called for a pan-European response to migration to stop the Mediterranean, where thousands have drowned, from becoming “the graveyard of dignity”.
Nardi said that the day before travelling with Francis she was putting in order her photo archive, as she normally does before her assignments.
“I saw that picture I had taken in Lampedusa and suddenly felt I had to show it to the Pope,” she said.