Christian World Service is asking for prayers and support for Syrian refugees on World Refugee Day.
World Refugee Day is designated by the United Nations to honour the courage, strength and determination of men, women and children who have been forced to flee their homes. It is marked on 20 June.
Churches around the country have indicated their concern for Syrian refugees and will be praying and collecting donations for CWS’s Syria Appeal for Refugee Sunday.
Money raised will be sent to partner agencies trying to meet some of the many needs of more than 1.5 million refugees, mostly women and children. CWS partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) working in Jordan and Lebanon is struggling to provide food, water, accommodation, psychosocial support and medical assistance to refugees once forced out of Palestine and now from Syria. Their programme is continuing to expand to help desperate Syrians as well.
“It is the Syrians and Palestinian refugees formerly resident in Syria who are carrying the cost of the fighting. They have lost their homes, their income and sometimes loved ones. They need our support now and until peace prevails,” says Pauline McKay, National Director.
“Churches have helped strangers and refugees since the earliest times. The work of DSPR and the ACT Alliance in the region is an expression of this tradition. They are helping people of all faiths and none,” she continues.
“The urgent task is for the international community to focus on finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. Dispatching more weapons will not end the fighting – weapons can be captured and more people killed,” she adds.
DSPR reports that the rising tensions between Jordanians and Syrians have trickled down to the schoolyard. The influx of about 30,000 Syrian students has forced many of Jordan’s schools to switch to abbreviated “two-shift” systems, rotating students in half-day sessions to ease stress on overcrowded and understaffed classrooms.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay released a new report finding that at least 93,000 people have been killed, with more than 5,000 a month since last July. Without an end to the violence, more lives will be lost.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that human displacement reached an 18 year old high in 2012. Their new report found that more than 42.5 million people were either refugees or displaced within their own countries and a new refugee or displaced person every 4.1 seconds. 55% of refugees come from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan.
Presbyterian and Methodist Churches mark Refugee Sunday on 23 June and Anglicans on 7 July.
CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations working together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development.
Donations to the Syria Appeal can be made here, sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140 or by calling 0800 74 73 72.
20 June 2013