Pope Francis makes West Bank plea for protection of children
Published on May 25, 2014 6:02 PM
JERUSALEM (AFP) - Pope Francis made an impassioned plea on Sunday for the protection of children at a mass in Bethlehem's Manager Square in the West Bank, where rights groups say minors are mistreated by Israel.
"Children are crying, they are crying a lot, and their crying challenges us," the Argentine pontiff told thousands of Roman Catholic pilgrims in Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus, on the second day of his Middle East pilgrimage.
"All too many children continue to be exploited, maltreated, enslaved, prey to violence and illicit trafficking. Still too many children live in exile, as refugees," said the pontiff, famed for defending the sick, poor and downtrodden.
Francis was speaking ahead of a meeting with children in the Dheisheh refugee camp and a lunch with refugee families in a huge morale boost for Palestinians, who have called on him to help end Israeli occupation.
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