Displaying items by tag: Refugees
Syria: Assad welcomed by Arab League
President Bashar al-Assad joined the Arab League summit in Jeddah and was embraced by the Saudi crown prince. A decade ago, the Saudis funded anti-Assad militias; now they want to remake the Middle East and need Syria onside. Assad insists, ‘Other countries should not interfere with what happened inside Syria’s borders. It is important to leave internal affairs to the leader and his supporters.’ Between them, princes and presidents at the summit have locked up many thousands of their opponents. Syrians blame the Assad regime for destroying their country. Over a million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon, but recently Lebanon sent 1,500 back to Syria at gunpoint. The UN insists Syrian refugees cannot return home until their country is safe and secure. The Assad regime remains under US and European sanctions. Amnesty International said, ‘Assad has turned Syria into a slaughterhouse’. President Bashar al-Assad broke his country to save his regime. There has been no justice for his victims.
Migration bill risks damage to UK's reputation
Justin Welby has said the Illegal Migration Bill would not stop small boat crossings, and it fails in our moral responsibility towards refugees. The archbishop and nearly 90 peers will speak in the House of Lords debate. He said the bill ‘fails utterly’ to take the long-term view of migration challenges globally. He agreed existing international law needs updating, but the bill is a ‘short-term fix which risks great damage to the UK's interests and reputation, at home and abroad’. He was speaking as the bill begins what is expected to be a rocky passage through the House of Lords as the government does not have a majority there. The home secretary is urging peers to get behind the legislation. The bill is a key part of Rishi Sunak's plan to ‘stop’ small boats crossing the English Channel. Opposition parties and charities say the bill is unworkable and could breach international law.
USA: open arms for refugees
President Biden has announced a new pilot programme that empowers individuals to privately sponsor refugees coming to America. Through the programme, Welcome Corps, groups of five individuals or more can raise funds to sponsor a refugee. Once the refugee arrives, these people will help them secure housing, employment, and education as they integrate into American life. Christians are called to care for the persecuted and vulnerable. The narrative of Scripture reveals God’s heart for the immigrant and the refugee, who are valuable people made in His image (Matt. 25:35-40).
Call to continue Homes for Ukraine scheme
Along with over thirty other charities, Sanctuary Foundation, which helps people welcome Ukrainian refugees into their home, has written to ask the Prime Minister for assurances the Homes for Ukraine scheme will continue to get government backing and support. There is concern the initiative is being ‘quietly phased out’. Host families are worried that ministers will not increase support to match rising costs of living. Households receive £350 a month for hosting someone from Ukraine, but there are calls for that amount to be doubled. Since March, over 96,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the UK, but a BBC investigation found that in 14 months 116 unaccompanied child refugees from across the world have gone missing from UK hotels. They were temporarily housed by the government, but charities fear they risk being exploited.
Ukrainians who don’t flee
Not all Ukrainians desire to start a new life abroad. There are tens of thousands of Eastern Ukrainians in refugee camps, schools, kindergartens or government buildings, hoping they will be able to return home once the war is over. They refuse to think that there will be no homes to return to. These refugee camps are everywhere in Transcarpathia (in the far west of Ukraine) which, at the moment, is a place of safety. The Carpathian Mountains separate them from Putin’s bombs. Pray for the safety of the brave Europeans visiting refugee locations with food, clothes and household needs.
New York Jets follow Jesus' lead
The women, children and elderly fleeing Ukraine are suffering the most, dealing with the trauma from Russia’s ongoing onslaught. In support of what churches in Ukraine and Poland are doing, the New York Jets donated $100,000 towards the work of ‘CityServe Krakow Housing Project’. Their goal is to expand refugee housing in Krakow, Poland. The money will provide safe homes for families which include a kitchen and laundry room, and food and vital necessities. CityServe said it is incredible that a secular organisation should partner with faith-based organisations to see the gospel spread in this war-torn region.
The UN expects five million people to flee Ukraine. The world was already facing the highest levels of displacement on record. The war in Syria killed 400,000 and destroyed healthcare, education, and infrastructure, forcing millions to cross treacherous waters to safety. An estimated 745,000 people crossed the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh after violence erupted in Rakhine state. The rapid movement and huge influx of Rohingya refugees put massive strain on existing refugee camps like Cox’s Bazar and on the host communities who are supporting new arrivals. Every day 37,000 people across the world flee their homes due to persecution or conflict; 26 million people flee their homes annually due to climate-related disasters; and one in five refugee or displaced women are estimated to have experienced sexual violence. In this season of global recessions, pray for adequate financial donations to be given to agencies delivering life-saving aid to refugees. Pray for ample food, water, sanitation, blankets and shelters to reach the vulnerable.
Lebanon: discrimination against refugees rises
A refugee agency in Lebanon noted discrimination and violence against Syrian refugees rose sharply recently, with more confrontations at bakeries where refugees often have to wait for bread behind Lebanese citizens. Rawan Haddad, of Tent Schools International, said that the refugees’ situation is sometimes better than most Lebanese. Nations provide basic support and limited facilities for refugees, but Lebanese below the poverty line have no support. There are shortages of bread, flour, and medicine. People don’t make enough to buy what they need, and the government won’t help. With these concerns in mind, Lebanese officials have now announced they plan to repatriate refugees back to Syria, but the problem is that European countries will not agree to that course of action.
Home Office challenged over post-Brexit EU citizens in UK
A statutory body set up to monitor and review EU citizens’ rights after Brexit will review Home Office rules impacting 2.5 million European nationals living in the UK. The Independent Monitoring Authority (IMA) is challenging the Home Office decision to remove the rights of people living in the UK for less than five years before Brexit if they do not apply in time for permanent residency status. The rules mean they would be classed as undocumented migrants and lose their rights to reside, work, rent property or access services including the NHS. At worst, they could face deportation. The IMA argued the rules were a breach of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU, which guaranteed the rights of EU citizens who were in the country before Brexit. There is also a real issue as to the potential application of EU law in the interpretation of the withdrawal agreement.
Ukraine: Pray for refugees’ protection
The International Justice Mission (IJM) reminds us that the Ukraine conflict has displaced millions of women and children across Europe who are now running out of savings and resources, making them vulnerable to false work offers or accommodation from traffickers. The UN warns that Ukraine’s war is turning into a ‘human trafficking crises’. We need to cry out to God for women and children’s protection, that they would find safe housing and a stable income, to avoid accepting offers from traffickers. Please pray that they would know God's peace and comfort at this time of great difficulty. Pray for the expansion of IJM's anti-trafficking work in Europe. Ukraine’s refugee crisis means they urgently need to expand their anti-trafficking work into more European countries to reach and protect more vulnerable people. Pray for more local churches and European communities to accept and help refugees and may God mightily bless those volunteers already welcoming Ukrainians into their communities.