Pope Francis addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, condemning the persecution of Christians and minorities in North Africa and the Middle East.
As he did in his historic speech to the U.N. Congress Thursday, the Pope urged world leaders attending the General Assembly to tackle global problems such as poverty and climate change, and pursue policies that enhance the quality of human life.
"I must renew my repeated appeals regarding to the painful situation of the entire Middle East, North Africa and other African countries, where Christians, together with other cultural or ethnic groups… have been forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage, their houses and property, and have faced the alternative either of fleeing or of paying for their adhesion to good and to peace by their own lives, or by enslavement," the Pope said.
He called for action on climate change and poverty eradication for the good of humanity.
"The common home of all men and women must continue to rise on the foundations of a right understanding of universal fraternity and respect for the sacredness of every human life, of every man and every woman, the poor, the elderly, children, the infirm, the unborn, the unemployed, the abandoned, those considered disposable because they are only considered as part of a statistic," the pontiff said.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is among world leaders attending the U.N. meeting.
After his U.N address, the pontiff joined with leaders from various faiths at ground zero where thousands of people were killed in 2001 when planes hijacked by al-Qaida rammed into the world trade center.
Commenting, political analyst Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda said given the pontiff’s global influence and appeal, world leaders were likely to act on some of his recommendations.