and Buttons Aid Effort
Dominicans Put Pressure on Congress
to Relieve the Iraq Refugee Crisis
PARK, IL -- March 31, 2008 Dominican Sisters from across the country
will be represented in Washington, DC April 15-17 to urgently call
on Congress to immediately improve US efforts to resettle Iraqi
2007 the United States fell far short of its promise to permanently
resettle 7,000 Iraqis and already the promise to resettle 12,000
Iraqis in 2008 is showing a dismally slow start. Approximately
2,500 of the promised 7,000 were resettled in 2007.
are going to Washington, D.C. to demand a response to those displaced
by this five year war,” said Sr. Dusty Farnan, OP (Adrian)
North American Promoter of Justice and Peace. “We will
meet with our congressional members to express the truth that the
life and dignity of every human person is sacred and is the foundation
of a moral vision for society. The sanctity of human life is under
direct attack as a result of this war.”
Dominican Congregations who will be represented in Washington, DC
include Amityville, Caldwell, San Rafael, Mission
San Jose, Sinsinawa, Springfield, Mosul Iraq, Adrian, Blauvelt, Grand
Rapids, Sparkill, Columbus, and Racine.
"Everyday I hear the stories of refugees whose families
have been torn apart by violence and displacement," said Sr. Beth
Murphy, OP, (Springfield) Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator
for the Archdiocese of Detroit Refugee Services office. "These
families' dreams and hopes for a happy future for their children
are not worth less than the dreams and hopes of American families.
The terrible reality of this war is that it is putting at risk
the futures of millions of children, in Iraq, in the United States,
and around the world."
Unless the U.S. Government moves fast to address the already grave
Iraqi displacement crisis, Iraqi civilians will be at even greater
risk, with serious consequences for the entire region, according
to EPIC (Education for Peace in Iraq Center). While Iraq and neighboring
countries face the worst humanitarian crisis in Iraq's history,
including the displacement of more than 4 million people, U.S.
and international assistance remains woefully inadequate.
Iraqi refugee crisis is the fastest growing refugee crisis
in the world. - AFSC March 2008
"It’s a nightmare for those who need to relocate
for their own safety," said Sr. Marcelline Koch, OP, (Springfield)
Justice and Peace Promoter. Bureaucratic red
tape is keeping thousands of Iraqis from being able to relocate
into the United States. True to the promise, our government
needs to improve the current system of refugee processing that
isn’t working fast enough."
Responding to the grave humanitarian crisis and the escalation
in the violence facing the people of Iraq, the Dominican Sisters
will join representatives from EPIC (Education for Peace
in Iraq Center) and specifically call for action by Congress to:
- Strengthen humanitarian assistance to the region by providing
increased funding to international organizations and non-governmental
organizations providing essential humanitarian aid to internally
displaced Iraqis and Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries. Also
provide additional bilateral assistance to refugee hosting
countries to help their national systems expand to accommodate
refugee needs and to ease the strains on local communities.
- Increase support for reconciliation, recovery and community-based
development in Iraq.
- Improve U.S. admissions and resettlement of especially vulnerable
refugees from Iraq by becoming the global leader in resettling
displaced Iraqis in an expedient manner, giving priority to the
most vulnerable cases in accordance with UNHCR guidelines.
"The Iraq war is an unqualified moral disaster that
affects the lives of 26 million Iraqis, over half of whom are under
the age of 18,” said Sister Beth Murphy. "It is also
an economic disaster for the U.S. Analysts estimate that the conflicts
in Iraq and Afghanistan will have cost three trillion dollars by
the end of fiscal year 2008 while the U.S. housing market is at
a dangerous, historic low. The popular myth is that a war economy
is good for everyone, but it is costing the average U.S. household
just under $5,000, at $341.4 million dollars a day, while families
continue to struggle, medical insurance costs soar, and schools
are underfunded. That's
why it matters that we use our voices in Washington to speak for
the ones who suffer the most: Iraqi citizens, U.S. soldiers and
their families, and the children, the elderly, and the most vulnerable
members of our own society."
Dominicans have been deeply and profoundly committed to action
on behalf of Iraq since the days of Sanction in the 1990’s,
and are calling on everyone to support the cause and keep the plight
of Iraqi refuges in the public spotlight.
“The Dominican Family in North America is urging everyone
to join in our efforts. We’re launching a new awareness
button campaign,” Sister Dusty said. “We’re
encouraging everyone to wear the: ‘I have Family in Iraq:
4 Million Displaced Iraqi’s 2003-2008’ button.
This button communicates our concern for the displaced people of
Iraq. We will give a button to the legislators as a reminder
to keep their promise to the Iraqi refugees.”
For more information on how you can participate or help, logon
to www.iraqactiondays.org. Organizers
are encouraging everyone to come to Washington DC and take part
in the event.
by Nathan Mihelich
Dominican Sisters of Springfield