Thursday, 21 August 2014

Supporting the People of Iraq - Catholic Church in England and Wales Acts

Christians and Yezidis collect aid from CAFOD partners CRS and Caritas Iraq
CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development is at work through its partners in Iraq helping those who are vulnerable and in need. It says:

How is CAFOD responding?
Since late 2012, we have supported a massive humanitarian programme in response to the crisis in Syria, providing aid to people in urgent need in Syria itself, as well as refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and northern Iraq. Our Church partners in Lebanon and Jordan are now doing everything they can do to support Iraqi Christians as they flee their country.

We have also committed £25,000 to our Church partners in Iraq so that they can respond to the urgent needs of families forced from their homes in this latest emergency. Our partners have already provided humanitarian relief to 3,500 displaced families in Ninewa and plan to respond to the needs of 30,000 families over the next six months.

Is CAFOD only supporting Christians in Iraq?
No. Our partners in Iraq are providing aid to people in need, regardless of their faith or political allegiance.

What does CAFOD think about the current crisis in Iraq?
We wholeheartedly support the recent statement by Cardinal Vincent Nichols:

“I have followed with deep sadness the unfolding disaster in Mosul, in Sinjar and Qaragosh, and in other towns and villages across northern Iraq. This is a persecution of immense proportions in which Christian, Yezidi and other communities have been targeted by ISIS and forced to flee their ancestral homes in the Nineveh Plains in search of temporary safety. All they are doing is trying to escape certain death.

“Today, I add my voice to those of the Church leaders in Iraq as well as all the Bishops of Oriental Churches who met in Beirut yesterday alongside the Apostolic Nuncio. (They have since met in Erbil with the refugees). Along with Christian and Muslim leaders in Wales and many others we appeal for help and protection for these persecuted communities facing a threat to their very existence in their biblical homelands. It is imperative that the international community ensure the physical protection of all communities in Iraq, their human rights including the right to religious freedom. I urge Her Majesty’s Government to lead the efforts in the face of such a human calamity in order to help restore these shattered communities, provide them with urgent humanitarian aid and work with others to ensure their long term security in the land of their birth.

“I encourage our own Catholic community to continue to give generously to our agencies working to support the people of Iraq. Above all I invite all people of faith to turn to God in prayer and seek for our world the change of heart and the gift of grace that alone can bring us peace.”

We need to both pray and assist all those in need in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East through CAFOD and Aid to the Church in Need.

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