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USCCB delegation calls for more aid to Syrian refugees, protection of Christians

Catholic World News - November 02, 2012

A delegation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, led by Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, has returned from the Middle East and is calling for greater international aid for Syrian refugees.

“The number of Syrian refugees continues to increase, placing the most vulnerable at risk,” the delegation noted in its report. “According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the outflow of Syrians could reach 750,000 by year's end and as many as 1.5 million by the end of 2013.”

“As the conflict in Syria continues and intensifies, more international support will be required to assist Syrian refugees to find durable solutions,” the report continued. “To date, only about one-third of the UNHCR international appeal for Syrian refugees has been met. The resources of the receiving nations are being stretched and tensions between residents and the new refugees are rising.”

The report, which also discussed the suffering of African refugees in Cairo and Eritrean refugees in the Sinai Peninsula, highlighted the persecution faced by Syrian Christian refugees:

Religious minorities, especially Christians, are at extreme risk, as they were in Iraq. The delegation heard many stories from Christian families that they are being targeted in the conflict, similar to the persecution many of these groups experienced during the Iraq war. This persecution could worsen if the conflict dissolves into a sectarian and ethnic civil war. Some remain at risk in neighboring countries.

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