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CWS Update June 2017

A monthly news bulletin exploring development, global justice and the work of CWS. An alternative to mainstream media sources. Past issues can be read here

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Four years ago, a displaced Syrian woman received food and non-food items at the Al-Khuder Orthodox Church in Ezraa, Syria.  Photo: ACT Alliance.

For Your Diary

16—20 June Support Operation Refugee

20 June World Refugee Day

25 June Refugee Sunday— “And She Departed”

2 July Refugee Sunday in Anglican lectionary—”Whoever Welcomes You, Welcomes Me”

6 July International Day of Cooperatives

11 July World Population Day

We Get Help to Refugees

For the third year in a row, refugees numbers have increased.  UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, reported 300,000 more than in 2015 making a total of 65.6 million people of concern—about 10.3 million became displaced in 2016—51% are children.  In Uganda for World Refugee Day, UN Secretary General António Guterres urged countries to increase quotas, protect refugees, increase humanitarian aid and seek political solutions to conflicts.  He noted 80% of refugees were in developing countries—more than 1.3 million are in Uganda.  Only 189,300 people were resettled in 37 countries including New Zealand.  Syria produced the most refugees—5.5 million people. A total of 12 million or 65% of the population are displaced.

Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon are facing possible cuts in income without increased international support.  In Jordan one in three refugee families depend on the cash assistance from UNHCR as their sole source of income.  In Lebanon, 70% live under the national poverty line and are struggling to pay rent, annual immigration fees and other costs.  Please consider writing to Foreign Affairs minister Gerry Brownlee asking for more assistance to Syrian refugees from the New Zealand aid budget.

Operation Refugee

Special thanks to participants and supporters of Operation Refugee.  Close to $50,000 has been raised for Syrian refugees for food parcels, cash assistance for rent or other needs, medical check ups, education, fun days for children and counselling.  If you can, please support someone who did Operation Refugee or the Syria Appeal to help Syrian refugees now.

Thanks to your donations, Syrian refugees are enjoying the DSPR children’s forum in Jordan.

Double the Quota

CWS and church leaders are supporting the campaign to increase the number of refugees resettled in Aotearoa New Zealand.  People escaping conflict, war and persecution have a right to protection under international law and while most stay close to home many need to find a new home.  Refugees have made a significant contribution to our country, and we can and should do more to help in this global crisis. 

Last year the government announced an increase from the existing 750 people a year to 1,000 by 2018 plus an additional 600 Syrian refugees over three years.  Offering hospitality to the refugee and stranger is part of our Christian heritage.  We encourage you to write to local papers, your MP and political candidates or speak out in support of refugees.  Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.

Sri Lanka FloodsMONLAR

Heavy rainfall at the end of May caused widespread flooding and landslides in western and southern Sri Lanka, claiming 214 lives with 76 people still missing.  UNICEF reports 416,000 are in need of humanitarian assistance.  At the same time districts in the north and east are experiencing prolonged drought.  CWS partner, Monlar immediately organised farmers to help clear drains and wells.  CWS will send funds to assist Monlar to rebuild homes and rehabilitate livelihoods lost in the deluge.  Please support the Sri Lanka Flood Appeal so they recover.

Gaza: Three Years On

Returning from a monitoring visit in the Middle East, International Programmes Coordinator Trish Murray reported that Gaza had made progress rebuilding after the devastating 2014 war.  DSPR Gaza has provided critical assistance to vulnerable families: 26,484 mainly women and children attended its 3 primary health clinics.  A dermatologist was added to the staff to treat growing numbers of skin diseases caused by stress and malnourishment.  Last year 249 students enrolled in its highly regarded vocational training progammes.  Students are supported into jobs or businesses.  Unemployment is 42% in the population of 1.9 million people of which 42% are refugees.  June 5 marked 50 years since the Six Day War and the occupation of Palestinian territories.  The World Council of Churches and Palestinian Christians made statements seeking justice and peace for all peoples.

Philippines Churches Respond

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines expressed concern after martial law was declared in Mindanao.  They are mobilising relief efforts for people from Marawi displaced by fighting between government and Islamic forces.

South Sudan Famine Averted

Famine has eased in South Sudan’s Unity State but more people—1.7 million people are facing emergency levels of hunger according to the UN.  Seasonal rains have failed in Ethiopia.  People are facing starvation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.  You can help South Sudanese families by giving to the South Sudan Appeal.

Vote ODA

Terence Wood from Australia’s Development Policy Centre has projected New Zealand Official Development Assistance spending.  At 0.25% of Gross National Income according to the OECD,he predicts it will drop further.  With such critical need from war and disaster, we must do better.

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New Appointments

CWS welcomes Claire Hart an experienced campaigner and Masters in Development graduate from Auckland to the Board, Ian Lothian and Luis Arevalo to the Staffing Committee, and Edwin Boyce Christchurch Diocesan manager to the Finance Committee.

About Update

Update provides news, information and stories.  Reproduction of items is encouraged with attribution to CWS.  Current and back issues are available