April 4, 2013
By Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre The parents of 8-month old Amjad Aalawayn came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April looking for help for their sick baby. The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite. They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly he passed away while waiting for medical assistance. Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred, whereby they confirmed the death of 8-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared as was dead on arrival. May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here. Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same [...]
By Jos de Vogd, CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) After two years of fighting in Syria, the flow of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon is increasing the pressure on this small country by the day. According to recent government figures, more than a million Syrians are now in Lebanon. And every week more than 10,000 more displaced people, all looking for accommodation, are adding to the problem because there are no official refugee camps there. The numbers include refugees registered or waiting to be registered with the UN refuge agency UNHCR. But they also include people who are either not willing to register as well as seasonal workers who didn’t return to Syria because of the civil war, instead persuading their families to join them in Lebanon. Also included are Palestinian refugees from Syria and Lebanon who were permanently living in Syria. At the moment, one in five people in Lebanon come from Syria. There [...]
March 29, 2013
February 27, 2013
By Maria Suelzu, International Advocacy Officer, Migration Team, Caritas Internationalis On 15 February I attended an event organised by Vatican Radio. It was a reading of some excerpts from the books written by women migrants who had taken part in the literary competition “Lingua Madre” (Mother Tongue) in Italy. I was moved by the stories of these migrant women and by the quality of their writing. My role was that of presenting the activities of the Caritas Confederation for women migrants. Below you will find the text of my speech.
By Patrick Nicholson Tahani and Rahaf are both Syrian refugees who volunteer for Caritas Jordan to help their compatriots. “We had a normal life,” said Rahaf Al Jaber, a 20 year old woman from the Syrian capital Damascus. “We went to university. We had friends. We were even a little spoiled by our parents. And then suddenly we had nothing. We were cold, hungry and alone.” Rahaf fled with her family to Jordan after her father was threatened. “My father received a phone call saying he should leave or he will be killed. We left the house straight away, without time to pack. We learned that our house was burned down later. We fled along back roads and through fields to avoid checkpoints. We walked across the border.” They went to Zaatri refugee camp once they were in Jordan. “It’s in a desert. Life is very difficult,” she said. “We slept in tents [...]
By Patrick Nicholson “Each Syrian you meet will tell you a different story; but they are all the same tragedy,” said Fawaz, a refugee who crossed into Jordan last month. Since the conflict began two years ago in Syria, its cities have been devastated, its people go hungry, living in fear, 70,000 are dead and around 3 million have been forced from their homes. Half of the Syrian refugees who have fled their country are in Jordan. Most live in urban areas in rented rooms. Caritas Jordan provides them with humanitarian aid, housing support, healthcare, education and counseling. Here are five of their stories. Fawaz Fawaz cradles his 20-day old baby girl in his arms as they wait at the Caritas clinic in Amman. The baby has a high fever and has been born with a hip problem. Thankfully her twin brother is healthy and happy. The twins were born just days after Fawaz [...]
January 29, 2013
“This is a nightmare. We will wake up soon to find ourselves in our beloved Syria,” said Ismail Ahmad Al Ajrab, a 30 year old refugee from the Syrian city of Homs. “I feel sometimes that this is all just a dream, but then the difficulties hit you and I know it is our reality now.” Syrian refugees are streaming across the border into Jordan, fleeing the 22-month-old uprising. More than 26,500 have crossed over the border since 1 January, almost double the figures for December. Tens of thousands more are waiting to cross to join the 300,000 refugees already in the county. Ismail fled eight months ago with his wife, Jihan, and their three boys: Rafiq, 6, Mashaal, 4, and one-year old Yousef. “I was under arrest for 4 months in Syrian. Through a miracle, I managed to escape with my family to Jordan,” he said. Once in Jordan, he learned [...]
Caritas Sri Lanka Director Fr George Sigamoney says he is deeply upset by the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia on 9 January. Caritas had fought for her release since she was sentenced in 2007 to beheading for strangling a baby she was looking after as a nanny in 2005. Rizana was just a minor herself when the tragedy took place. She maintains that it was an accident caused by her inexperienced efforts to save the baby from choking. "Unfortunately, what we expected to happen happened," he said. "As a representative of the Church and of Caritas I want to express my sorrow and solidarity to Rizana's family. I pray for them that they may have the courage needed to face their pain and get through this moment." "I want to remember Rizana in another way," Fr George said. "As a nation, we must reflect and weep for [...]
By Marina Bellot, Secours Catholique/Caritas France Life is increasingly difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon now winter has come. However, Caritas Lebanon is by their side. Syrians who cross the border to Lebanon are looking for one thing for themselves and their families : to live in peace. Some 132,000 Syrian refugees have been registered by the UN refugee agency since the brutal conflict began in their country. Eighty percent are women and children who have fled, leaving behind their homes, their lives and their loved ones, who they sometimes later discover were killed in the war. Once across the border, some refugees are taken in by host families, particularly in the north of Lebanon where there are strong ties between the two peoples. Others rent small rooms which are sometimes home to more than a dozen people. But with the conflict entering its second year, the welcome is wearing out and in [...]
December 18, 2012
By Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Head of Delegation to the UN in Geneva In many countries of the world, in both global North and global South, much attention is given to the legal status of migrants. As we observe World Migration Day 2012, Caritas Internationalis wishes to call attention to the full range of needs of migrants, including their right to enjoy good health as well as access to health care. Much discrimination is experienced by migrants as a result of national and local health policies that are founded on such factors as racial, ethnic, cultural and religious prejudice; xenophobia; fear that migrants drain financial resources from a host population; and misunderstanding or misperception of the contributions made by migrants to host populations. Faith-inspired organisations, such as Caritas, engage in health-related advocacy with migrants in order to assure equitable access to health care, in accord with the vision developed by [...]
The International Day on 18 December provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to Migrants and increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families. For copies of the prayer in 18 languages go to: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec ORACION POR LOS NOMADAS ENTRE FRONTERAS - JORNADA MUNDIAL DE LOS EMIGRANTES (18 DE DICIEMBRE):Este Día Internacional brinda la oportunidad de promover la conciencia sobre las realidades de los migrantes, ampliando la comprensión de los factores sociales, económicos y demográficos que repercuten en los mismos. Para copias de la oración en 18 idiomas ver: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec PRIÈRE POUR CEUX QUI SONT MIGRANTS - JOURNÉE MONDIALE DES MIGRANTS (18 DÉCEMBRE): Cette Journée Internationale offre l'opportunité de promouvoir la conscience des réalités concernant les migrants, en agrandissant la connaissance des procès sociaux, économiques et démographiques qui ont un effet sur elles. Per le copie della preghiera in 18 lingue vai a: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec
By Jos de Voogd, Bekaa Valley The news this week is that more than 500,000 Syrian refugees have been registered by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in the region, and the numbers are climbing by more than 3,000 per week as the conflict escaltes. Lebanon is the smallest of Syria’s neighbouring countries and bears one of the greatest burdens. There are 154,000 refugees are formerly registered or waiting for registration there. According to Kamal Sioufi, board member of Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre this brings a heavy burden on the Lebanese society. “We have a history of conflict and of refugees coming to our country,” he said. “Lebanon already hosts a large numbers of Palestinians and to lesser extend Iraqi refugees. If the number of Syrian refugees keeps rising and if this situation will again last for years, we fear instability”.
November 28, 2012
Read in French “Everything is enveloped by a sense of ruin and decay,” says Bishop Antoine Audo, Chaldean bishop of Aleppo and president of Caritas Syria. “In Aleppo, there are hundreds of thousands of displaced people crammed into schools and makeshift camps. There are 5,000 people who sleep outside in the gardens of the university campus. “Conditions are getting worse. We have no hospital, no schools, no university. Even for those who still live in their homes, the situation is difficult. “Industrial areas on the outskirts of the city have been bombed and looted. For weeks, rubbish has not been collected. The stench has become unbearable.”
Across the world, vulnerable people—particularly women—are exploited when they go abroad as domestic workers. With no laws to protect them, housemaids suffer abuse, withheld wages and more. Caritas Internationalis has participated in an international advocacy campaign for the adoption of an ILO Convention regulating domestic work. The Convention (No. 189) with an attached recommendation (No. 201) was adopted on 16 June 2011 during the International Labour Conference in Geneva. It was a major breakthrough and the recognition of domestic work as real work. Caritas has joined with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to promote the ratification and implementation of Convention No. 189. The ITUC has launched the “12 by 12” worldwide campaign to have 12 countries, as a start, ratify Convention No. 189 by the end of 2012.