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For Your Diary
20 June—World Refugee Day
26 June—Refugee Sunday – ”I cry aloud to God” Worship resources
3 July—Refugee Sunday (Anglican tradition) “Peace to this House” Worship resources
11 July World Population Day
A new fund to provide education for 35 million children missing out on education because of humanitarian crises was launched at last month’s World Humanitarian Summit. Syrian refugee children in Jordan’s Za’atari Camp say yes to school. Photo: ACT Alliance/P Jeffrey
UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency reported there were 65.3 million displaced people in 2015, up from 59.5 million. Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia produced more than half of the world’s refugees. Colombia, Syria and Iraq were home to the majority of the world’s displaced people. High levels of conflict and persecution pushed an average of 24 people every minute to leave their homes. “More people are being displaced by war and persecution and that’s worrying in itself, but the factors that endanger refugees are multiplying too,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. The journey to safety is becoming increasingly perilous and funds for relief fail to meet the escalating needs.
CWS is asking churches to pray and act for refugees on Refugee Sunday, designated as 26 June, and 3 July in the Anglican tradition. Worship resources and children’s material are available. If you can, please make a donation to the Syria Appeal to help refugee families.
CWS supports efforts to double the refugee quota and is hopeful that with more pressure the government will increase it. If you share our concern, please contact your MP or Immigration minister Michael Woodhouse. The government says it will increase the quota by 250 from 2018, making a total of 1,000 a year.
Sonia Groes-Petrie (pictured) signed off her pledge to live on refugee rations on World Refugee Day. “It was really good to be able to be involved with the challenge and I was completely blown away by people’s generosity. It is good to be able to do something positive for the people of Syria. The scale is so overwhelming. I so admire the work DSPR are doing,” she said. Along with 74 others she joined Operation Refugee to raise funds for food, medical care and education for Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon.
Last month’s UN summit edged a little closer in efforts to improve providing support for people affected by conflict and disaster. The “Grand Bargain” to make aid financing more efficient and effective, and the greater emphasis on local players signal new opportunities to better meet the needs of affected people. “Local and national responders are the parties that have the closest access to communities, and as ACT Alliance we have also committed to significantly increasing the proportion of our members’ humanitarian funding that goes directly to local and national members and their partners, for both humanitarian response and emergency preparedness,” says John Nduna.
In last month’s budget, the government announced a 12% increase in Official Development Aid spending, taking it from $589 million last year to US$659 million in 2016. For the second year in a row the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade underspent its vote and the money has been carried over.
“The willingness of nations to work together not just for refugees but for the collective human interest is what’s being tested today, and it’s this spirit of unity that badly needs to prevail.”
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Gaza: Two Years On
Two years after Operation Protective Edge, residents of Gaza have experienced few improvements. According to a recent UN report 75,000 people remain displaced, many sheltering in damaged homes or with others. Only 3,000 of an estimated 18,000 destroyed housing units have been made habitable. By the end of 2015 38% of people were unemployed and 80% dependent on foreign aid. The economy continues to sit on the brink of collapse. Power cuts are longer and more frequent, and the territory’s aquifers likely to become unusable in the next few years. Psychosocial issues, longstanding political issues and the blockade are causing considerable harm to its 1.8 million population. “We suffer daily, but we never lose hope,” says Dr Issa Tarazi, executive director of CWS partner DSPR Gaza.
NZ: Views on Aid
Earlier this year, the Development Policy Centre in Australia surveyed 1124 New Zealanders. The results found 56% thought giving just under $1 for aid in every $100 of government spending was the right amount, 68% were in favour or strongly in favour of spending money to help poor countries rather than for New Zealand’s commercial and strategic interests, and 69% thought that NZ’s aid spending was for helping people in poor countries.
CID: New Director
CWS welcomed the appointment of Josie Pagani as the new director of the Council for International Development. A communications consultant and political commentator, she has worked for NZAID and the OECD DAC (Development Assistance Committee).
Uganda: Go Wild For Life
For World Environment Day, the Centre for Community Solidarity organised a two week awareness programme in schools and churches. It included the importance of protecting wildlife habitat so wild animals did not endanger humans.
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