World Refugee Day: Children must be protected

Refugee children demonstrating playcards for their rights on the World Refugee Day 2018. Photo: LWF Nepal.
Refugee children demonstrating playcards for their rights on the World Refugee Day 2018. Photo: LWF Nepal.

Gratitude for compassion and solidarity of member churches

(LWI) “Refugees don’t leave their homeland because they want to. They leave because otherwise their lives are in danger,” says Rev Dr Martin Junge, general secretary of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), on World Refugee Day.

Speaking to the Lutheran World Information (LWI), on the occasion of World Refugee Day, the he said that “there have never been more refugees than today and at the same time there is more wealth in the world than ever before. There should be enough resources to respond. What is required is leadership and a political will to address the issue.”

“Running the risk of repeating myself, I want to restate what the LWF Council prophetically said in 2016: refugees may lose many things when they flee, but never their human rights.”

The LWF is among the ten largest implementing partners of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. In 2017, LWF World Service, the humanitarian and development arm of the LWF, supported more than 3 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) in 27 countries.

The LWF general secretary thanked the LWF member churches for their committed support of refugees and displaced people and encouraged them to continue that work. “LWF member churches around the world continue standing up for refugees, meeting them, sheltering them, and advocating for national legislation that is compliant with international obligations. We are grateful for this and for the support we continue receiving to show compassion and solidarity in a world so often falling into indifference,” Junge said.

“More than half the refugees in the world today are children. They need special protection. In working with refugees World Service pays special attention to families and their well-being."
Maria Immonen, director LWF World Service

Children need special protection

“More than half the refugees in the world today are children. They need special protection,” said Maria Immonen, director of LWF World Service. “In working with refugees World Service pays special attention to families and their well-being. Children are especially vulnerable and under no circumstances can they be subject to treatment which further traumatizes them and their parents.”

LWF World Service provides a broad range of services to support children, including protection, child-friendly spaces, psychosocial support, and most importantly, education to build each child’s capacities and hope for the future.

LWF World Service is active in those regions that host 85% of the world’s refugees and forcibly displaced people. All of them are live in communities and countries of the so-called developing world.

“Refugees all have enormous potential which they want to bring to use in the place where they found refuge, for the good of the societies and communities which received them and offered them a new start,” Immonen emphasized.

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