Bishops conference urges resettlement of refugees


THE Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands wants solidarity and resettlement of all Afghan refugees in PNG and Nauru.
The conference was responding to the unfolding situation in Afghanistan that caused displacement within the country and forced Afghans to seek refuge across the region.
“These refugees have families and loved ones back home, who now face great threat to their lives and freedoms,” the church said in Port Moresby yesterday.
According to the conference, about 20 Afghan refugees in Port Moresby had left behind family members when they departed in 2013.
“These refugees need our support, both in kind and in prayers as they think about the lives and freedoms of those they left back in Afghanistan,” the church said.
The church said the Asia Pacific region needed to respond to the humanitarian crisis.
“Regional leaders, such as Australia and New Zealand, must help with the refugee influx by creating a special humanitarian programme to provide a safe passage out of Afghanistan for those at risk,” it said.
“We echo the call by the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network for all parties responsible for this situation to comply with international humanitarian law and human rights, to endeavour for immediate and peaceful resolution to end the ongoing conflict and restore peace and safety.”
The church called for everyone to join the efforts of restoration of peace through prayer and seek God’s help and sanctuary upon those who suffered and were afflicted.
“We also call on governments, civil and corporate organisations, and individual families to extend a helping hand wherever you find Afghan refugees among your midst,” the conference said.
“In this difficult time, we stand with Afghan refugees and prepare to support them the best way we could. Irrespective of any differences, we are all called to love one another and show compassion.
“That is what is needed from each of us in this time.”