Raising awareness about the issues affecting refugees around the world. This year’s theme is “Restoring Hope.”
As of December 2012, the number of people displaced by persecution and conflict was estimated by UNHCR to be 45.2 million – 28.8 millioninternally displaced persons (IDPs), 15.4 million refugees and 937,000 asylum seekers. Australia was ranked 49th for total number of refugees hosted (30,083), 62nd in terms of refugees per capita and 87th for number of refugees hosted relative tototal GDP. Facts
Scripture Would Jesus discriminate? He touched lepers, who were regarded as ‘unclean’. He ate with ‘tax collectors and sinners’. He told the story of a Samaritan, a people hated by Jews, as an example of neighbourly love, and said: “Go, and do the same yourself.” (Luke 10:37)
Faith in action Caritas Australia and our partners support a number of projects for refugees in countries such as Syria, South Sudan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Burma/ Myanmar. These programs are often linked to emergency appeals, and include the provision of emergency goods such as food, shelter, water, healthcare, counselling and support for the families of those affected.
Case Study: 3 years of the Syria Crisis Ongoing conflict in Syria has led to one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. The Syrian crisis has killed more than 115,000, and over 9.3 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. Caritas Australia is providing urgent humanitarian support to Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
Zahaya’s Story Earlier this year, Zahaya, 21, her husband, Karim, and their one year old son fled over 600km from Syria to Lebanon to take refuge from the humanitarian crisis. They took several buses and made attempts to cross at three different borders.
There are over 3.8 million Syrian refugees today. Many live in tents in refugee camps in neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon, where Zahaya and her family are.
“It is very difficult to live here in a tent. […] We have no shower or bath here. We have no running water or electricity,” says Zahaya. “As a mother, it is difficult to manage my family here.”
Zahaya’s house was demolished by bombs in April 2013. “We had nothing, only the clothes we were wearing. We knew it was time to leave.”
The Caritas network is providing critical food, shelter and living supplies to Zahaya and her family, along with thousands of other refugees like them.
Faith in action In Sudan: -The Sudan region has been beset with conflict for decades. Fighting has continued even after South Sudan separated from Sudan in July 2011. Conflict escalated significantly in December 2013 in parts of South Sudan. In response, Caritas Australia is contributing to a coordinated international effort to help the many civilians forced to flee their homes.
Faith in action In Nepal: - The Bhutanese Refugee Education Program provides education and vocational skills to Bhutanese students living in refugee camps, Nepal.
1. Find out more – what do you know about refugees and asylum seekers? Commit to finding out three facts you didn’t know, today! 2.Pray – for our Caritas partners and all who help refugees around the world. 3.Work for justice – Pope Paul VI said “If you want peace, work for justice”. Hold a #withSyria prayer vigil and/or ‘Kids for Kids’ event and stand in solidarity with Syrian refugees. Take action!
A Prayer for Peace in Syria Prayer from Catholics Confront Global Poverty, a collaborative effort of USCCB and CRS
God of Compassion, Hear the cries of the people of Syria
Comfort those who suffer violence Console those who mourn the dead
Give strength to Syria’s neighbouring countries to welcome the refugees
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms