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     Home > Charity and Solidarity  >  2013-10-09 17:20:43
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Despite dangers, church always assists world's refugees, says prelate

09,Oct. 2013: Refugees and migrants pay the highest price in conflicts around the world and it is in the Catholic Church's DNA to provide them humanitarian aid and prayerful support, according to speakers at a recent U.N. event. The panel was held in conjunction with the U.N. High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.
"Both migrants and the populations that receive them belong to a single human family, and both enjoy the right to the goods of the earth, goods which are destined for universal enjoyment," said Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, papal nuncio to the United Nations. The sad situation of refugees and internally displaced people is not their fault and not of their choosing, he said. Catholic institutions are actively engaged in helping refugees, "not because someone asked us. We've been doing it for centuries and will always do it, in spite of difficulties, dangers and hardships," Archbishop Chullikatt said. Speakers addressed the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis throughout the Middle East, while noting the Syrian situation is most prominent in the public eye.
In the past two years, violence in Syria forced at least 2 million people to flee the country and displaced another 4.5 million people internally.
Najla Chadla, director of Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, said Lebanon is the smallest country in the Middle East but has the highest number of refugees and migrants. Foreigners comprise half the population, she said.The Christian minority is among the most vulnerable of the refugees. Many Syrian Christians are afraid to register for aid because of pervasive religious persecution and long-standing interreligious tensions in their home country.
Refugees live in overcrowded, impoverished areas, beset by infrastructure and security problems. Shelter is limited, life is expensive, jobs, health care and education are scarce, and stress is high, Chadla said. "Caritas was present from the first days to support the refugees," Chadla said. It operates a 24-hour aid hotline, as well as shelter and winterization assistance.


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