Austrian migrant tragedy `offends humanity`: Pope

Pope Francis on Sunday decried the deaths of 71 migrants found in an abandoned truck in Austria last week, calling for effective cooperation to avoid such "crimes that are an offence to the whole of humanity."

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 30, 2015, 20:40 PM IST

Vatican City: Pope Francis on Sunday decried the deaths of 71 migrants found in an abandoned truck in Austria last week, calling for effective cooperation to avoid such "crimes that are an offence to the whole of humanity."

He said he joined the Austrian church in prayer for the victims.

The abandoned 7.5-tonne truck contained the decomposing bodies of 59 men, eight women, a toddler and three young boys, provoking international revulsion.

The dead were thought to be Syrians and Austrian police believe they suffocated and that they had been dead for up to two days before the truck was discovered by motorway maintenance workers.

"I entrust each of them to the mercy of god," the pope said.

Since becoming the first south American pontiff in 2013, the Argentinian Pope Francis has railed against "the globalisation of indifference."

The number of migrants reaching the EU`s borders reached nearly 340,000 during the first seven months of the year, up from 123,500 during the same period in 2014, according to the bloc`s border agency Frontex.