Pope Francis has slammed "populist rhetoric" and "self-centeredness" by some countries towards asylum-seekers, Russia Today reports.
Rejection of asylum-seekers is "rooted ultimately in self-centeredness and amplified by populist rhetoric," said Pope Francis, speaking to participants at the International Forum on Migration and Peace in Rome on Tuesday.
"What is needed is a change of attitude, to overcome indifference and to counter fears with a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors."
The pontiff called for people to provide "a responsible and dignified welcome" to asylum seekers.
"Unfortunately, in the majority of cases this movement is forced, caused by conflict, natural disasters, persecution, climate change, violence, extreme poverty and inhumane living conditions," he said.
For those who "flee conflicts and terrible persecutions, often trapped within the grip of criminal organisations who have no scruples, we need to open accessible and secure humanitarian channels."
He added: "We are speaking about millions of migrant workers, male and female – and among these particularly men and women in irregular situations – of those exiled and seeking asylum, and of those who are victims of trafficking."
Pope Francis also called upon countries which take in asylum-seekers to help them integrate, without naming specific nations.