On World Refugee Day Christian World Service is pushing for new action to address unprecedented numbers of refugees.
CWS is supporting calls to increase the number of refugees resettled in New Zealand and the overseas aid budget. Under the current quota system 750 people are admitted into the country.
National Director of Christian World Service Pauline McKay said the global community cannot ignore the drivers of this dislocation or afford to meet the escalating demands for humanitarian assistance.
Record numbers of refugees are a sign of deep seated tensions in many parts of the world. Refugees are driven by desperation, fear and economic deprivation.
In July New Zealand will take on the presidency of the United Nations Security Council. It is a unique opportunity to change the game plan to one where countries work together to stop the wars that create refugees.
“We are facing one of the biggest refugee crises in history. It is not business as usual. There are many more people in desperate need than humanitarian agencies like Christian World Service and the global ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) of which it is a member can help. Much more must be done at the national and international level to stop wars and help refugees,” says Pauline McKay.
The United Nations Human Commissioner for Refugees released figures showing record numbers of refugees in 2014. In total a staggering 59.5 million people had fled their homes, up 8.3 million from 2013. One in every 122 persons on the planet is a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.
“People are prepared to take dangerous voyages to escape war, persecution and misery. Governments have a moral and a legal duty to rescue them. The international community needs to put more resources into resolving conflicts and end the oppression and poverty that are the drivers of these expeditions,” she says.
Refugee Sunday is marked on 21 June in Methodist and Presbyterian Churches and 5 July in the Anglican tradition. Churches celebrate the contribution of refugees and other migrants to Aotearoa New Zealand and remember those living in fear and strife. Retired bishop John Bluck has supported the call in an Opinion piece published in The Press.
CWS is asking for support to the Syria Appeal. Funds raised enable the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees provide practical assistance, education, healthcare and psychosocial care to Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees formerly resident in Syria.
Christian World Service has been doing a world of good since 1945. It works with local groups in 20 countries who are making change happen so people can live a life free from poverty. CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), a global coalition of more than 140 churches and church related organisations that work together in the areas of humanitarian assistance, advocacy and community development in 140 countries.
20 June 2015