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When was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you?" – Matthew 25:38
World Refugee Day - June 20, is a day to lift up refugees displaced by war, civil unrest and persecution, all of which tear away at the fabric of human community.
Take Action! Urge Congress to Support Unaccompanied Children at the Border (June 20, 2014)
We are facing an escalating humanitarian crisis as a growing number of unaccompanied children cross the U.S.–Mexico border at an increasing and alarming rate. So far in FY 2014 alone 47,000 children have migrated to the border.
Of the eleven million refugees in the world today, seven million have been "warehoused," in camps or segregated settlements for 10 years or longer. In camps, refugees live in crowded conditions in some of the most remote and inhospitable living conditions. Refugees are not allowed to grow their own food. Nor are they allowed to earn an income for their labor. They survive on meager food rations and water that is trucked in or wells which are dug for them. Waiting in line for water is a major activity of the day. Tents and temporary structures become permanent homes. Safety is not assured. Refugee camps are not safe places to raise a family and yet many children are born there. While refugees wait for the opportunity to return home, locally integrate or be resettled, they stagnate, become dependent, lack stimulation, lose motivation and even hope resulting in a tremendous waste of human potential.
Refugee Facts (UNHCR)
There were 15.4 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2012, 10.5 million under the mandate of UNHCR, down slightly from the previous year.
The other 4.9 million Palestinian refugees are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
During the year, conflict and persecution forced an average of 23,000 persons per day to leave their homes and seek protection elsewhere, either within the borders of their countries or in other countries.
Developing countries host over four fifths (80%) of the world’s refugees, compared to 70% ten years ago.
In 2012, the country hosting the largest number of refugees remained Pakistan, with 1.6 million refugees. Afghanistan retained the position as the biggest source country, a position it has held for 32 years. On average, one out of every four refugees worldwide is Afghan, with 95% located in Pakistan or Iran.
Last year, 46% of refugees were under 18 years old. This was in line with 2012 but higher than a few years ago. Refugee women and girls accounted for 48% of the refugee population.
An estimated 7.6 million people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution, including 1.1 million new refugees- the highest number of new arrivals in one year since 1999.
There are several ways you can help refugees
Advocate for fair refugee and immigration legislation. Please join us in calling on Congress to pass compassionate immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, emphasizes family unity, and protects the human and civil rights of immigrants to the U.S.!
Global Ministries statement regarding immigration issues
Church World Service
Church World Service and its member denominations, including the UCC and Disciples of Christ, provide help and homes to refugees, and work to build a hospitable community in the United States for uprooted people. Each year, CWS resettles about 8,000 refugees and entrants in the United States, with congregations and affiliate agencies providing services locally. UCC Refugee Ministries helped resettle 711 refugees in 2005. In refugee camps in Africa and Asia, CWS provides health care and post primary education through its Durable Solutions for Displaced People program. You can help welcome refugees and be a part of the solution overseas providing support for refugee programs abroad.
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