Pope Francis is decrying what he calls the "shameful silence" about long-running conflicts in Africa and elsewhere.

Speaking Monday to tourists Monday in St. Peter's Square, Francis cited massacres in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an example of bloodshed that too often has "no weight on worldwide opinion." He said such massacres have "for some time been perpetrated in shameful silence, without even attracting our attention."

He recalled the suffering of populations in many parts of the world who are "innocent victims of persistent conflicts."

On Sunday officials said suspected rebels killed at least 36 people in northeastern Congo, spurring street protests against the ongoing violence. The rebel group has killed at least 500 civilians in the region since October 2014, a local rights group says.