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Pope calls for doors to be opened for refugees

Pope John Paul has drawn attention to the growing number of refugees in the world as well as the rising number of countries who limit their entry.

"This scourge unfortunately has increased in recent years and therefore in turn the need for international protection has also grown, but also the number of countries who limit this protection have increased," the Pope told thousands in St Peter's Square ahead of World Refugee Day tomorrow.

"While I hope the causes of migration will be removed I invite efforts to provide refugees with the necessary understanding and assistance to be increased," he added.

There are approximately 22 million refugees worldwide and in areas of heavy and persistent conflict, numbers have increased sharply. In Africa, there are now more than seven million refugees, against 750,000 in 1969.