Asian and African migrants "abandoned" in Lebanon, Vatican says

22,000 Sudanese and Iraqi refugees as well as thousands of migrant workers are trapped in Lebanon, according to the Vatican agency for pastoral care of migrants.

AsiaNews reports that the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, Agostino Marchetto, in statement also has urged Syria to facilitate entry procedures and temporary asylum for the refugees.

Archbishop Marchetto made the comments yesterday as US, Russia, European and Arab ministers gathered for a crisis summit on Lebanon in Rome and pledged to do their best to help achieve a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

"During these difficult days, especially for Lebanon, I would like to add my voice to all those who have been asking for an immediate ceasefire of the hostilities. Moreover, the humanitarian Community should get access to the suffering civilian population who is forced to flee. The hundreds of thousands of displaced persons need our urgent attention," he said.

"I would especially draw attention to the fate of the thousands of migrants workers who got trapped in the conflict, with our special concern for those who are from Asian or African countries, who are more abandoned," he added.

The Secretary said that 22,000 Sudanese and Iraqis who received asylum in Lebanon "are facing the consequences of the hostilities with special difficulties."

"It would be of assistance to all of them if the entry procedures at the Lebanese-Syrian border would be facilitated and if the Government of Syria would allow them (Lebanese, migrants and recognised refugees) to enter temporarily and grant them protection during this time of violence," he said.

Archbishop Marchetto says he hope that yesterday's Rome meeting will lead to an end of the violence, adequate support of civilians, and the beginning of "long-term global solutions" for the region.

Vatican: appeal for neglected Asian and African migrants "trapped in Lebanon" (AsiaNews, 26/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

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27 Jul 2006