The Pope has prayed for a softening of “stony and self-centred hearts” among mankind to help end injustice in the world, in his Christmas Day message.
From the Vatican balcony, Pope Francis spoke of “walls of indifference” being put up to people fleeing hardship in the hope of finding a better life.
The Pope prayed for those hit by conflict, natural disasters and disease, listing several countries.
He singled out parts of Africa where Christians have been killed.
He urged “comfort to those who are persecuted for their religious faith, especially missionaries and members of the faithful who have been kidnapped, and to the victims of attacks by extremist groups, particularly in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria”.
An attack on Christmas Eve in Burkina Faso left 35 people dead, most of them women.
Hundreds of people have been killed in the country over the past few years, mostly by jihadist groups.