Silver Spring, Md.— This World Refugee Day, there are more than 60 million people around the world who are internally displaced, seeking asylum, or living as refugees in other countries. The United Nations has described the Syrian crisis, which has displaced approximately half of the country’s population, as the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.
As an international humanitarian organization, ADRA has a long history of helping people displaced by conflict and persecution. Between 2010 and 2015 alone, ADRA has assisted around 5 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). We are currently assisting refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, and returnees in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Americas. ADRA’s response to the Syrian crisis involves responding to the needs of IDPs within Syria, and working with refugees and asylum seekers in Lebanon, Greece, and other parts of Europe.
In the face of this unprecedented humanitarian crisis, ADRA is marking World Refugee Day with a call to action.
We call on the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY to find a timely, humane solution to resettling the refugees stranded in Greece and other parts of the world. We also call on the international community to address the circumstances that cause people to become refugees. We call on the international community to help the Syrian Government find a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict, and address the conflicts and human rights concerns in other countries which cause people to flee.
We call on POLITICIANS to stand firm on their beliefs, and not be swayed by populism. What is right and what is wrong never changes. Human dignity and human rights are always the same regardless of changing circumstances and commerce.
We call on the MEDIA to report responsibly on the refugee crisis and related events. We call on them to present a balanced, fair picture of events, and not to stoke people’s fears and prejudices.
We call on CHURCHES to talk to your congregations about what the Christian response should be to these events and how to follow Jesus’ example, even in difficult times. Adventist churches in Europe have partnered with ADRA on projects to support refugees in their community. We challenge churches to consider whether they have a role to play in reaching out to the millions of displaced people around the world and in our own communities.
We call on INDIVIDUALS to not be guided by selfishness, fear and prejudice. We urge a response to this crisis driven by intelligence, compassion and a recognition of our shared humanity and human rights. We believe that every person has the power to have a positive impact on the world around them, and that there is something everyone can do to help refugees, even if it is just saying a prayer for them or educating yourself about the situation.
To find out more about ADRA’s work with refugees, and to read the stories of some of the refugees we’ve met, visit ADRA.org/refugees. To learn more about what you can do to help refugees, sign our pledge. For downloadable resources your church can use to devote a service to refugees, visit https://www.adventist.org/en/information/special-days/refugees/.
The Adventist Development and Relief Agency International is the humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. For more information, visit ADRA.org.