August 6, 2012
As Syria refugees pour into Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, Caritas is giving them food, medical care, and emergency aid. Ilham, a mother of five, described a harrowing day in her home city to Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen. I have nothing to do with the military, I am a civilian. We’re from Bab Amr, in Homs. One day I wanted to go get milk. My neighbour Adnan said, “Don’t go, I’ll bring you milk. I’m afraid you’ll be killed.” The snipers shoot from a long distance. We don’t see the shooter, but he sees us. It was about 2 pm and Adnan was bringing the milk to me, two containers. A shooter was up in a building in a small window. He was shot. The bullet went through his arm to his heart. I went out to try to save Adnan. The person who shot him also shot me, to prevent me from reaching [...]
Available in French By Laura Sheahen, Caritas Communications Officer “We’d move from neighbour to neighbour to escape the bombing,” says Ahmed, a father of six from the Syrian city of Homs. As civil war in his country escalated, he watched buildings bombarded and people injured or killed. “There came a moment when I looked at my children and thought, ‘nothing matters but them.’ I knew we had to leave.” If they only had themselves to worry about, thousands of Syrian parents might take their chances and stay in their country even as bombs drop and snipers fire. “If it were not for my children, I would never have left Syria. I should be there,” says Ahmed. Instead, he took his family to Jordan. Ilham, an epileptic mother of six, was shot in the leg by a sniper. But for several months after, she remained in Syria. “I didn’t want to […]
Available in French Tens of thousands of people have fled Syria to escape bombardments and shooting. Now living in cramped, unsanitary conditions in neighbouring countries, some refugees are falling ill. Doctor Simon Kolanjian is a pediatrician who travels in a Caritas Lebanon mobile clinic to treat refugee children. He spoke with Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen about what he’s seen since the clinic on wheels started in May 2012. How are Syrian refugee children doing? The children are malnourished. They come to us and they’re weak and thin. A lot of kids have diarrhea. The water isn’t clean. I tell them to boil it. We need to tell them how to use water. The infections go up in summer. We can’t keep giving them antibiotics if the water’s bad. We must address the root cause. There are also upper respiratory infections, lice, fungal infections. How many kids do you usually […]
July 17, 2012
June 18, 2012
On World Refugee Day (20 June), Caritas says there needs to be better protection of the human rights of refugee women, especially in relief camps and in border areas. In Africa, women refugees live for extended periods in overcrowded sites where life is harsh. They lack access to basic items such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Women can easily become victims of all forms of violence, sexual abuse and exploitation. In industrialised countries, women asylum seekers face unduly prolonged detention and forced return, as well as restricted access to social or medical systems, combined with limited access to the regular employment market. The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR says the world will see increasing numbers of refugees during the next 10 years as the factors causing mass population flight grow. They include climate change, population growth, urbanisation, food insecurity, water scarcity and resource competition. Finding durable solutions to refugee situations is a [...]
Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo in Syria and head of Caritas Syria has been in France for meetings with Secours Catholique (Caritas France). He spoke to François Tcherkessoff. Here is an edited version of the interview (translated by Caritas Internationalis). What does the Church leadership say about the recent events? The three patriarchs of Damascus from the Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Syrian churches urge dialogue, an end to the violence, a reform of the State to allow greater freedom, democratic elections. Some Christians fear the unknown with the possible rise of religious fundamentalism as in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and so defend the regime.
May 27, 2012
“Migrants...represent 2.9 per cent of world population, some 185-192 million people, nearly half of whom are female. The most common employment opportunities for women...are areas where just treatment must be assured for migrant women out of respect for their femininity in recognition of their equal rights. “Trafficking in human beings has a particularly negative impact on women. In some cases there are women and girls who are exploited almost like slaves in their work, and not infrequently in the sex industry. The culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of sexuality is as pervasive as it is unhealthy for society and must be addressed by more than fine words” Archbishop Celestino Migliore – Permanent Observer of the Hole See to the UN in his address at the 50th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, 2 March 2006. Issues related to Migration and Development has always been on the agenda [...]
When women migrate alone to other countries for work, “they face the psychological burden of being responsible for their families, while not being at home to care for them. They face the moral and economic burden of sending money back to them. They face exploitation and abuse by people they travel with or by their employers. They face the discrimination of being a migrant,” said Martina Liebsch of Caritas Internationalis at a discussion today.
Every year, thousands of desperate migrants from Africa cross the Mediterranean, hoping to reach southern Europe. Caritas is focusing on their needs at the Migramed conference, held this week in Cagliari, Italy. Before trying to cross the Mediterranean, many of these migrants have already spent months travelling through Africa, often fleeing violence, poverty or hunger. They embark from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria, with some migrants detained for long periods in Libyan prisons before leaving for Italy or Malta. Their boat trips frequently fail. Some die in the sea, victims of bad weather. Others are sent back to their transit country after being intercepted by the Italian or Libyan navy.
Caritas staff and volunteers have been working flat out all over South Sudan to prepare for the return of refugees from north Sudan. In Juba, between 12-15,0000 returnees stranded in Kosti in the White Nile State in north Sudan are expected to arrive over the next few weeks by plane. The governor of White Nile State, citing insecurity concerns, said that the presence of over 12,000 South Sudanese in Kosti is no longer tolerated and they have to move before 5 May. The South Sudanese from Kosti are travelling to Khartoum and then flying down to Juba. Caritas Juba with the support of the Caritas Coordination Unit is helping get a site outside Juba ready for the returnees. Today, 700 returnees have arrived at the site according to the Sudan Catholic Radio Network. Caritas Juba Emergency Coordinator Agnes Serafino said that 16 volunteers were offloading building equipments provided by IOM (the International [...]
Caritas staff members and colleagues from six continents were in Rome for Caritas Internationalis governance meetings this week. They also had time to see a photo exhibit showcasing Caritas’ work to stop human trafficking and unsafe migration. The exhibit, hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz and funded by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, featured images of young women in Nepal who are at risk of being trafficked. The photographs, which were taken by Katie Orlinsky, showed rural and urban scenes of women in Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest countries. Caritas members around the world work together to raise awareness of false job advertising and other tactics that traffickers use to lure women into unsafe situations.
In summer 2011, when famine and violence were engulfing her country, Fadumo “Mama” Sharif Mohamed left Somalia with her husband and ten children. On their eight-day trek to the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, militia attacked them and they lost the family’s food. Her children, like thousands of others, suffered from malnutrition. But she and her family made it to the refugee camp and were put in a section called Kambioos, where Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member based in the USA) is working to build and improve water systems. Fadumo became a leader as she settled into camp life. She was the founding member of the MIDNIMO women’s group, which began with 25 people and today has 183 members. The group does basket weaving, woodcarving, and henna decorating, and also bakes traditional bread. Due to strong management, the women’s group is able to successfully earn money by selling their […]