20 June 2016
As we observe World Refugee Day on June 20th, we need to, in the words of the UNHCR “to honour the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.” For almost six years now, we in the JRS (MENA Region) have been in the midst of this reality, experiencing the pain and trauma of ordinary people.
It is also a day on which we recognise and celebrate those who work with us: our colleagues, our collaborators, our volunteers, our partners and others. Some do so at great risk to themselves and even to their families.
We are all aware that we have done much in this Region in support of the refugees and the IDPs; and we continue to do so- to reach out to those who need us the most: children, women and men. Our broad range of activities and programmes, in keeping with our core mission of service, accompaniment and advocacy, are availed by thousands every day.
Pope Francis urges us to continue to walk with the refugees. We need to do so by re-committing ourselves in every possible way to help ameliorate their situation. In this “Year of Mercy” let us open our hearts even more generously, so that we may better serve, accompany and advocate for the refugees in and from our Region.
God Bless you all!
Fr. Michael Zammit sj