5 July 2018
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines (center), speaks during an interfaith conference on migrants and refugees at the U.N. headquarters in New York on 3 May (photo: CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In last week’s post on the movement of peoples—mass migrations—taking place in the contemporary world, we looked at the terms which are used to refer to these people and to indicate wherever possible the legal implications these terms might have.
Today, I’ll look at some of the international efforts to deal with the problem of a mass movement of peoples — efforts CNEWA and the Holy See have been involved with in many ways, for many years. It has been clear that since the problem is international in scope, the solutions must also be international. When individual nations attempt to solve the problem in isolation, the result is often merely to intensify the problem in other, surrounding countries.
Despite all the rhetoric and fear-mongering in some quarters, the problem of the mass movements of peoples is really one of a clash of rights.
First, there is the concern over the rights of the refugee (using that term in its broadest sense.). The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) holds that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.” It also holds that “everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution;”
But secondly, there is the sovereign right of states to safeguard their borders, although that right is not absolute; a state, for example, cannot use racism and xenophobia (fear/loathing of foreigners) as reasons to “defend its borders.”
Excluding racism and xenophobia, there is, nonetheless, a true conflict of rights involved. The international community understands this — and understands, as well, that the uncontrolled movements of people can cause chaos and violent conflict. The United Nations, aware of conflict between these rights, speaks of the necessity of a safe, orderly and regular migration.
The UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016 passed the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The lengthy resolution outlines the rights and obligations of both migrants and states. The declaration recognizes the magnitude and complexity of the problem as well as the necessity of a comprehensive, international solution. In the second Annex to the Resolution, the UN announced the launch of a “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.” The purpose of the global compact is to “set out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions” (Annex II, I, 2).
In fact, two global contracts have arisen: the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and the Global Contract on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). As would be expected, these compacts have been the subject of intense and ongoing negotiations. Several drafts of both compacts have been published for further discussion and negotiations. It is hoped that “final” texts will be ready to submit to the UN General Assembly Session which convenes in September 2018.
In all this, Pope Francis has been very vocal on the need for a just and comprehensive solution to the problem of the mass movement of peoples. He spoke about this just last March, at the Plenary Council of the International Catholic Migration Commission. Recognizing the work of the UN, Pope Francis stated that the church “must encourage countries to coordinate more suitable and effective responses to the challenges posed by issues of migration.”
The Holy See has also engaged in practical efforts to deal with the crisis. Charitable organizations such as CNEWA, CRS, and Caritas Internationalis—to name just a few—are actively working on the ground to alleviate the sufferings of refugees in the Middle East, Africa and around the world. Likewise, the Permanent Observer Mission (Embassy) of the Holy See to the United Nations, under the leadership of Archbishop Bernadito Auza, has been very active in promoting the emerging Global Contracts through significant interventions in the General Assembly and symposia held at UN side events, co-sponsored by the Holy See.
A major side event, sponsored by the Holy See, was Sharing the Journey of Migrants and Refugees: An Interfaith Perspective on the Global Compacts on 3 May 2018. The website of the Mission of the Holy See to the UNmakes available all the statements and side events which the Holy See has sponsored on the problem of the movements of peoples.
The role which the Holy See and its charitable organizations, such as CNEWA, play is crucial. It is not unrealistically idealistic. It fully recognizes the competition, if not conflict, of rights and the incredible international legal and moral complexities involved here — and it attempts to achieve a just solution favorable to both sides. However, it is not merely engaged in abstract negotiations—as important as these are—but is actively engaged on the ground to help those millions of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.
5 July 2018
Tags: Refugees United Nations
Sister Martyna of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate teaches in Zbarazh, outside Lviv. Learn more about how these religious sisters are Giving 200 Percent in the new edition of ONE. (photo: Ivan Chernichkin)
5 July 2018
Tags: Ukraine Sisters Vocations (religious)
Pope Francis meets with Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk at the Vatican. (photo: Vatican Media)
Pope meets with head of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Vatican News) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with the Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of the baptism of Rus’-Ukraine. During the audience, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav drew attention to the UGCC’s relations with the other churches that are “heirs to the Baptism by Saint Volodomyr.” Speaking of the Orthodox Churches in Ukraine, his Beatitude spoke of the “painful reality” of divisions. He emphasized that, although the UGCC looks positively on efforts to overcome division, it nonetheless considers such matters internal to the Orthodox Churches, insisting that the UGCC never interferes in or takes part in such efforts…
Syria bombardment resumes after cease fire breaks down (Al Jazeera) The Syrian government and its closest military ally — Russia — have intensified their bombing campaign in the southern province of Deraa, after ceasefire deal between rebels and Russians broke down on Wednesday. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, said that had airstrikes intensified on Thursday as government troops advanced steadily to recapture lost territory…
Another pope to celebrate liturgy in Rome: Tawadros (Crux) On Friday, the second largest church in Rome will be hosting a papal liturgy, though this time it won’t be the usual suspect celebrating. Tawadros II, the Pope of Alexandria, Egypt, and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark will be officiating at a service for the growing community of Copt-Orthodox Christians in the eternal city…
Wireless in Gaza: kids making code, not war (The Guardian) Tight restrictions on the movement of goods and, vitally, people, have been the death of much industry here. But Gaza’s first coding academy hopes its hi-tech business model — which operates in the virtual rather than real world — will be somewhat immune to physical barriers to trade. ”That’s the reason we started this. It ignores boundaries,” says 31-year-old Ghada Ibrahim, who was in the first class of coders, which started a year ago. ”The blockade is a huge factor. It’s a reason why we have a lot of people who have come to sign up…”
3 July 2018
Tags: Syria Pope Francis Ukraine Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
With much of North America sizzling through a summer heat wave, now is a good time to stay in and stay cool with the new edition of ONE, just hitting your mailbox.
We have lots of refreshing and inspiring news on tap:
All that and more can be found in our award-winning magazine. Visit this link for more. And check out the video below from our president, Msgr. John E. Kozar, describing what else you can find in its pages.
3 July 2018
Tags: CNEWA ONE magazine
Pope Francis walks with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople during a meeting in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican on 26 May. The men will meet again this weekend in Bari, Italy. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Pope Francis will be in Bari, Italy, this weekend to pray for peace in the Middle East — and the trip will have a strong ecumenical theme.
From Catholic News Agency:
Taking place on 7 July, the day of prayer and reflection will include leaders of Catholic and Orthodox Churches in the Middle East, and will have an “authentically ecumenical breath,” Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari-Bitonto told Vatican News.
He said the day’s events will “combine the ecumenical vision of the Christian Churches and [give] particular attention to the Middle East, to invoke peace, but also to be close to our Christian brothers, who live in suffering.”
Pope Francis announced 25 April he would hold the day primarily for “prayer and reflection on the dramatic situation of the Middle East which afflicts so many brothers and sisters in the faith.”
Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Patriarch of Babylon, has confirmed he will be in attendance, as will Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, who leads the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Which other patriarchs will attend has not yet been confirmed.
During his Angelus address 1 July, Pope Francis said he and the other Christian leaders in Bari “will implore with one voice: ‘Peace be upon you,’” as it says in Psalm 122. “I ask everyone to accompany with prayer this pilgrimage of peace and unity,” he said.
Bari is often called the “porta d’Oriente” or the “Eastern Gate” because of its connection to both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox through the relics of St. Nicholas, venerated by members of both Churches.
Historically, many Eastern Churches have been present in the city, Archbishop Cacucci said, but an ecumenical culture was imprinted upon it most strongly after the Second Vatican Council, when the archbishop of the time opened the crypt of the Basilica of St. Nicholas to the Orthodox by creating a small chapel dedicated to them.
For more on St. Nicholas, read Bari’s Borrowed Wonder Worker from the July-August 1997 edition of our magazine, which notes:
[The popularity of St. Nicholas] rests on his compassion for the poor and his passion for the faith.
“The reason for this special veneration of this special bishop, who left neither theological works nor other writings,” writes Leonid Ouspensky, a noted Russian theologian, “is evidently that the church sees in him a personification of a shepherd, of its defender and intercessor.”
3 July 2018
Tags: Pope Francis Ecumenism Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I
Children play outdoors in the Adi-Harush camp in Ethiopia. Learn about how the church is working to help these and others seeking a better life in This, Our Exile in the June 2018 edition of ONE. (photo: Petterik Wiggers)
3 July 2018
Pope Francis on Tuesday named the Rev. Peter Paul Saldanha to be the new bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore in India. (photo: Vatican Media)
Pope appoints new bishop for Mangalore, India (Vatican News) Pope Francis on Tuesday appointed a new bishop in Mangalore Diocese of southern India’s Karnataka state. The Rev. Peter Paul Saldanha, the 54-year old professor of theology at the Pontifical Urban University of Rome, Italy, is the new Bishop of Mangalore. He takes over from Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza, who has resigned having reached the canonical retirement age of 75 two years ago. Bishop D’Souza stepped down after heading the Diocese of Mangalore for 22 years…
UN: war took heavy toll on children in 2017 (Vatican News) More than 10,000 children were killed or maimed in conflict last year while more than 8,000 youngsters were recruited or used as combatants, a United Nations report said last week. The annual report, “Children and Armed Conflict” (CAAC) released on 27 June pointed out that a total of more than 21,000 violations of children’s rights were reported in 2017 — a sharp increase from the previous year…
Jordanians launch aid campaign for refugees (Al Jazeera) Hundreds of people in Jordan have flocked to the border with Syria for a second consecutive day to deliver aid to some of the 270,000 refugees who have fled ongoing violence in Syria’s Deraa province…
‘I hope to God we will be safe’: refugees in Lebanon begin return to Syria (NPR) This group of refugees comes from camps around the Lebanese border town of Arsal. Approximately 3,000 people answered a recent call put out on Facebook to people from this area by the General Security agency, according to a local negotiating committee that represents Syrians who want to go back. Only a small number have been cleared by the Syrian government to return so far…
How Pope Francis is bringing down walls with the Orthodox for Middle East peace (Crux) With peace in the Middle East as the goal, Pope Francis on Saturday will host an ecumenical prayer in the southern Italian city of Bari to be attended by the representatives of the Christian churches with a presence in the region, including the Russian Orthodox Church. The pilgrimage to Bari, an ecumenical city per excellence due to the presence of the remains of St. Nicholas of Bari, venerated both by Catholics and Orthodox, has the motto of “Peace be upon you! Christians together for the Middle East”…
2 July 2018
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Refugees Indian Bishops
The Musa family fled Bashiqa, Iraq, in 2014 in the face of ISIS attacks and lived in Dohuk, Iraq, for three years. With a grant from USAID, they are rebuilding their home and trying to start over in Bashiqa.(photo: CNS/courtesy Catholic Relief Services)
A Chaldean Catholic archbishop in Iraq said he and other bishops were “delighted” that the United States Agency for International Development is making good on its pledge to help Iraq’s historic Christian, Yazidi and other religious minorities rebuild their lives after attacks by Islamic State militants.
At the same time, Archbishop Bashar Warda of Irbil advised a visiting USAID delegation led by Administrator Mark Green on 1 July that “time is running.”
“The time should be now and the help should be immediate and effective. Foremost, is the need to rebuild houses so there is a community to go back to and be there,” Archbishop Warda told Catholic News Service by phone after the visit.
Plans called for later rebuilding much-needed infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and government facilities.
After months of delay, the USAID is providing $10 million to organizations led by Catholic Relief Services and Heartland Alliance to help Christians and Yazidis restore their communities after attacks by the Islamic State in 2014.
There have been growing concerns, also expressed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, that unless the ancient religious minorities are supported to rebuild, many will seek a new life elsewhere.
“Our hopes are high now that this delegation will bring some changes. We especially appreciate the efforts of Vice President Pence and USAID to have them deeply involved in this situation,” Archbishop Warda said, adding that the delegation also visited Qaraqosh and other devastated towns.
“The message they sent was important: ‘We do care.’ The American government and the Americans do care about the fate of the Christians, Yazidis and the minorities and want to help,” Archbishop Warda said.
For the Musa family of seven, one of the many Christian recipients of CRS assistance, the U.S. aid provision could not have arrived soon enough. The assistance is helping transform their badly damaged home in Bashiqa on the Ninevah Plain. Forced to flee from extremist militants, the family was shocked to see the devastation when they returned home last fall.
“It was miserable,” the father, Mowfakk Musa, told a CRS worker. “All the furniture was broken, three rooms were burned, clothing in the house that wasn’t ours was burned. A bomb had hit our kitchen and burned the kitchen.”
“Christian” was written on the wall and the family’s crosses and pictures of Jesus were broken and strewn on the floor. The damage was so severe that the family thought of leaving and returning to Dohuk, a town farther north where they had sheltered. In the end, they decided to stay and restore their home.
Because of the extent of the damage, it was difficult for the Musas to complete the repairs. A grant from CRS, funded by USAID, allowed them to repair the charred walls, install new sinks and faucets and fix the electricity.
Cardinal Louis Raphael I Sako, the Chaldean Catholic patriarch, said about one-third of the Christian families who fled the militants have returned to their hometowns because infrastructure and security remain inadequate.
Archbishop Warda acknowledged that security is a concern. “But the fact that there are 7,000 Christian families that are back home, there is a possibility of security, if there is a willingness from all sides to really work hard on this,” he said.
He said that meant that “concerned governments and parties need to bring a dialogue of life that existed before back again” to Iraq’s rich cultural mosaic. “As Christians, there is a commitment also to play positive role in reconciliation and peacebuilding,” he added.
However, only 400,000 to 500,000 Christians now live in Iraq, compared to 1.5 million before the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, Cardinal Sako said. Other observers put their number even lower at 200,000. Meanwhile, the Yazidi population, victims of Islamic State genocide, also are greatly diminished, with an estimated 500,000 living in and around Sinjar.
Pence said in 2017 that the U.S. would directly support organizations that are helping Christians and Yazidis rather than work through the United Nations in the belief that religious minorities were overlooked as aid went to larger groups of displaced Iraqis. Months passed until it was realized that many groups were still waiting for the promised help.
Funds primarily raised by the church and some Western governments have so far supported rebuilding the devastated ancestral lands of Christians and Yazidis.
“We are grateful for the new additional funding to expand our on-going assistance to Christians and other religious minorities returning to their homes in northern Iraq,” said Kevin Hartigan, CRS regional director for Europe and the Middle East.
Hartigan told CNS that the new funds will “support the peaceful and successful return of minorities in Ninevah, by providing livelihood opportunities to youth from diverse returnee communities and mobilizing faith leaders to promote tolerance and reconciliation.”
The additional USAID funding “will complement our ongoing U.S. government-funded programs to provide housing repair and education to returning minorities,” he added.
“Along with the vital support we get from the Catholic community in the United States, the generous, constant and flexible funding we receive from the U.S. government has enabled CRS and Caritas Iraq to provide education and trauma healing for children, shelter and financial assistance to Iraqis of all faiths, on a large scale,” Hartigan explained.
Another $25 million in U.S. aid is expected to be disbursed in the future.
2 July 2018
Tags: Iraq Iraqi Christians
Pope Francis speaks to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square during his Angelus address on 1 July. (photo: Vatican Media/AFP)
Pope prays for peace in Syria, Horn of Africa (Vatican News) After praying the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis on Sunday issued a series of appeals for prayers for peace in different parts of the world…
Syria war: 270,000 reported displaced (BBC) At least 270,000 people have fled their homes in south-western Syria since the military launched an assault on rebel-held areas two weeks ago, the UN says. Many of those displaced by the fighting in Deraa and Quneitra provinces have headed towards the borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. But neither country has said it will allow an influx of refugees, sparking fears of a humanitarian crisis…
Christians in India elated, as Arunachal considers scrapping anti-conversion law (New Indian Express) Christians in Arunachal Pradesh are happy following the state’s BJP government’s move to repeal the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act or the Anti-Conversion Law which was passed in 1978. Once the law is repealed, the state’s 32 percent Christian population may have a favorable view of the BJP, which is generally perceived as a party not so favourable for the minorities…
A look at the Fratelli project in Lebanon (Vatican News) Fratelli is an educational project run by the Marist brothers and the De La Salle Brothers (Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools) in Lebanon’s Rmeileh, near the ancient city of Sidon.The project offers some 70 refugee children from Syria and Iraq the chance to get an education and prepare to return to school…
Unesco adds sites in Turkey, India to World Heritage List (Khaleej Times) Unesco added Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa Oasis and Oman’s ancient city of Qalhat to its World Heritage List on Friday, the world cultural body said. Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings — believed to be the world’s second largest collection after Miami — were added on Saturday, alongside the city’s better-known Victorian Gothic architecture…
Vatican cricket team tours to strengthen interfaith relations (Vatican News) The Vatican’s cricket team takes off on a fourth UK tour on Tuesday, with the goal of strengthening interfaith relations high on their action-packed agenda. The team, officially known as St Peter’s Cricket Club, was established in 2013 and is made up of young men who are studying for the priesthood in Rome. It operates under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for Culture and was set up to promote ecumenical and interfaith relations through a shared love of cricket…
29 June 2018
Tags: Syria India Pope Francis Interfaith
The above video was honored by the Catholic Press Association at its annual awards earlier this month. (video: CNEWA/Daniel Moreno)
This week’s video won honors at the Catholic Media Conference in Green Bay earlier this month — and showcases the energy and ingenuity of some teenagers from New York who are committed to making a difference.
The video — shot, produced and edited by Daniel Moreno — chronicles a fundraiser by a group known as Relief United, which in 2017 raised thousands of dollars for refugees, and donated the funds to CNEWA.
You can read more about it here.
But the video tells a great story and really puts you in the middle of it all.
Tags: Refugees Relief United