Mideast Churches issue appeal for refugees and displaced people
by Fady Noun

The Middle East Council of Churches and the UNHCR want in particular to reawaken the “global moral conscience" of the various parties involved in the fight against the pandemic.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), which is based in Beirut, and the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) have issued a call for solidarity and social action for refugees and displaced communities.

The appeal is co-signed by the Issam Farès Institut for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University in Beirut, and the Adyan Foundation, which is committed to interfaith dialogue and the development of the concept of “citizenship inclusive of diversity" in Lebanon and the Arab world.

The appeal is aimed in particular at reawakening the “global moral conscience" of the various parties involved in the fight against the pandemic, Adyan founder Fr Fadi Daou, told AsiaNews.

And this “is directly tied to Pope Francis’s vision of on social responsibility of religions and to the need to provide a shared response to the great problems faced by countries and societies.”

“This appeal,” he added, “is inspired by the fear of the virus spreading and the fear that displaced and refugee communities will be blamed.”

Notably, “such communities are less protected than others;” and,” we know that since time immemorial, public opinion and the authorities have been tempted sometimes to blame misfortunes on certain communities or individuals who thus serve as scapegoats.”

Thus, “This appeal, whose primary aim is to awaken societies and remind civil and religious authorities of their responsibilities in the fight against the pandemic, has in some way a preventive social dimension.”

In fact, it goes on to say that "our solidarity is crucial" in the fight against the pandemic, since everyone, citizens and non-citizens, including refugees share “a collective responsibility to combat the coronavirus pandemic in the interest of our common public health.”

Lastly, “with the same commitment that is uniting us in our fight, we have to ensure that the same deep fear is not exploited to cultivate the phobia of ‘others,’ any ‘other,’ either close to or far from us, including those who are living as forcibly displaced in our community; such exploitation and ‘negative narrative’ would undermine our mutually reinforcing unity,” thus increasing “the risks of social exclusion.”

PHOTO: courtesy MECC