Pope Francis Visits Nairobi Slum, Pushes the Three 'Ls'

by The Associated Press /  / Updated 

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NAIROBI, Kenya — Pope Francis denounced the conditions slum-dwellers are forced to live in, saying Friday that access to safe water is a basic human right and that everyone should have dignified, adequate housing.

Francis insisted on access to a basic sewage system, garbage collection, electricity as well as schools, hospitals and sport facilities during a visit to the Kangemi slum on Nairobi's northwestern edge.

Image: Pope Francis in Nairobi, Kenya
Residents of Nairobi's Kangemi slum welcome Pope Francis on Friday.CARL DE SOUZA / AFP - Getty Images

The pope has frequently insisted on the need for the three "Ls" — land, labor and lodging — and on Friday he focused on lodging as a critical issue facing the world amid rapid urbanization that is helping to upset Earth's delicate ecological balance.

Kangemi is one of 11 slums dotting Nairobi, East Africa's largest city. The shanty itself has about 50,000 residents living without basic sanitation. Most of the capital's slums comprise a maze of single-room mud structures with iron-sheet roofing or cramped, high-rise buildings.

Francis denounced the "injustice of urban exclusion" and the similar unfair distribution of land.

"These are wounds inflicted by minorities who cling to power and wealth, who selfishly squander while a growing majority is forced to flee to abandoned, filthy and run-down peripheries," Francis said.

"To deny a family water, under any bureaucratic pretext whatsoever, is a great injustice, especially when one profits from this need," he added.

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