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Displaced People Are the Silent Victims of War in Iraq

RIVER FOREST, IL February 26, 2007--Ordinary citizens and political leaders around the world are beginning to recognize the newly emerging reality of the silent victims of war in Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi citizens have been forced to leave their homeland since the US led invasion in 2003.

An estimated 100,000 Iraqis leave their country each month, including many of Iraq's best-educated professionals.  Approximately two million Iraqis have fled since 2003.  The neighboring countries are feeling the burden of Iraqi refugees; estimates are that Syria has taken in 800,000 Iraqis, Jordan 700,000, Egypt 100,000, Iran, 54,000, Lebanon, 20,000. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are internally displaced. US State Immigration Policy approves 500 Iraqi refugees yearly, only 466 have been admitted since 2003.

The Iraq Coordinating Committee encourages Dominicans in the US and Canada to recognize this humanitarian crisis.

Three Actions you can take now:

1. Participate in the Refugee Action Alert:

We encourage you to send a postcard to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ellen Sauerbrey, Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as your senators and representatives asking that we open our doors to Iraqi Refugees. (see address on right)

Write to Your Congressional Senator and Representative and the Secretary of State:

Use the links on the left to identify your representatives
in the US House and Senate. Here is a sample letter:

Dear ________________

The humanitarian needs of the Iraqi refugees are urgent.  Basic security, food, clothing and shelter are greatly needed by those fleeing their homeland.  An estimated 100,000 Iraqis leave their country each month, including many of Iraq's best-educated professionals

While the U.S. and the allies are spending billions of dollars per month on the war effort, the people are fleeing because they are afraid.  I urge you to respond to the needs of the people who have fled Iraq.  U.S. Immigration policy must reflect our concern for the people of Iraq with a concentrated effort to assist them by opening our doors in the U.S.

We also urge you to encourage other Western countries to open their doors to Iraqi refugees.

thank you,

[sign your name here]

2. Hold a Remembrance Vigil on March 19th, the 5th year of the War in Iraq.

We invite you to hold a prayer vigil on March 19th to mark the beginning of the first year of war. During your Vigil to please take time to write a note, or sign a large card or several cards to the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine, The Dominican Sisters of the Presentation and to the Dominican friars. We need three copies of the letters as you prepare them so that all three groups can receive them. We learned that a personal note or signature is reassuring to them; they will know that we have not forgotten them and that they can actually touch us through our signatures and messages.
(IMPORTANT: Pleae don't seal your notes!)

We encourage you to invite your local communities as well as Motherhouses. Provincial Houses, Scholastic centers, Novitiates, etc. to write cards or to sign a larger card that says something like, "We are thinking of you, we are remembering you, praying for you and with you for an end to violence and war."
3. During the prayer vigil, prepare a letter of support to our Dominican Family in Iraq

Please write a note of support, either as part of the prayer or beforehand, which ever works best for your needs. Your letters will be forwarded to our Dominican Family in Iraq.

Please mail your letters to:

Eileen Gannon, OP,
Dominican Leadership Conference
211 E. 43 Suite 910
New York, NY 10017.

As letters are received, we will see that they are delivered.

The Iraq Coordinating Committee invites you to take part in the following two actions as we commemorate the 5th year of the War in Iraq.

Letter campaign on behalf of Iraqi Refugees and a
Prayer Vigil on March 19th, 2007, which includes preparing a letter to our Dominican Family in Iraq.

Send Postcards to:

Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC  20520

Ellen Sauerbrey
Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration
State Department
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC  20520

On another note:
UN official lauds US decision to shelter 7,000 Iraqi refugees
Read more

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