Refugees fleeing to Europe from conflicts in Syria and elsewhere deserve to be treated as "equals," the foundation of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said Wednesday.
People may feel moved by the plight of the refugees, but tend to disavow them when called upon to share with those who look different and have different cultural and religious beliefs, according to the foundation, which is named after the retired South African archbishop and his wife, Leah.
"We witness their suffering in the daily news, and some of us feel deeply moved by their plight. But our compassion isn't sufficiently developed to regard their plight as our plight," the foundation said in a statement Tuesday. "To view them as equals . to open our hearts and our doors, and share our bread."
It said in a statement that the sight of Germans welcoming refugees is inspiring. Britain and France have also agreed to take in thousands of refugees.
Tutu, 83, has been hospitalized several times since July, when he was diagnosed with a persistent infection. His daughter Mpho said in August that he had been praying for refugees while in the hospital.
Tutu was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for campaigning against apartheid, the system of white minority rule in South Africa at the time.