Hope and Help For Iraqi Refugees


Two Iraqi refugee boys outside a social services center in Beirut, Lebanon. Photo by David Snyder/CRS

Representatives from Catholic Relief Services are participating today in a forum at the National Press Club in Washington that is highlighting the plight of the 2 milliion Iraqis who have been displaced by the war. CRS is co-sponsor of the event, Villanova Law Schools Ryan Forum on Law and Public Policy.

Many Iraqi refugees have fled to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, where they live as “illegal immigrants” and are unable to get jobs, schooling for their children or even basic medical care for their families. As they try to start new lives, they are forbidden to work in many cases, and shut out from services that citizens receive. These refugees wait out the days — hoping against hope that they’ll get visas to third countries.

Catholic Relief Services is working through our partners in the Middle East, like Caritas Lebanon, to provide food, medical care and help with rent to thousands of refugees. Mark Schnellbacher, our CRS Regional Director for the Middle East, and Najla Chadra of the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, participated in today’s panel.

CRS is also working to bring this issue to greater visibility here in the United States, particularly among American Catholics. Our CRS Advocacy staff has kept our grassroots legislative network informed on this issue and urged them to support appropriate legislation addressing the crisis. Earlier this year, CRS sponsored a delegation of eight women religious to Syria and Lebanon, where they saw first-hand the conditions in which these Iraqi refugees live and the challenges they face. They returned to the U.S. and mobilized to raise awareness of Iraqi refugees’ suffering, speaking in their congregations, universities and the media, as well as briefing members of Congress. And after speaking here today, Najla is scheduled to speak about the situation for Iraqis in Lebanon to several more groups in the Northeast.

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One Response to “Hope and Help For Iraqi Refugees”

  1. Nydia Weneck Says:

    excellent information.

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