Caritas to Hold High Level Meeting on Crises in Middle East

Secretary General Says the Organisation Cannot Accept That Whole Societies Are Being Destroyed

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The Church’s umbrella group of Catholic humanitarian organisations, Caritas Internationalis, is to hold a high level meeting next week to examine the crisis in the Middle East, including Syria, Gaza and Iraq.

Presidents and directors of Caritas organisations based in the region and their international partners will be taking part in the meeting that will be held in the Vatican, Sept. 15-17. 

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said: “The Middle East is in turmoil. Caritas organisations are overwhelmed as needs grow and resources shrink. This is far beyond our capacity and anyone else’s. A major move has to take place as we cannot accept that millions of people, whole societies, that used to live together in peace, are destroyed.”

He added: “We’re coming together to plan how best to respond to this regional tragedy in the coming months and years and how we can work together with others in the Catholic Church and beyond to promote peace and stability in the region.”

The crisis in Syria has left over 13 million people in need of aid both inside and outside the country. There is a ceasefire in heavily damaged Gaza, but no long term plan to end the cycle of violence. Resumption of conflict in Iraq has forced over a million people from their homes.

Caritas has responded to the needs of 965,000 people over the last three years affected by the crises in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. This includes shelter, healthcare,  food, basic needs,  education, protection for women and children, trauma counselling and peacebuilding. 

Participants of the meeting will include: Bishop Antoine Audo of Caritas Syria, Fr.Paul Karam of Caritas Lebanon, Wael Suleiman of Caritas Jordan, Nabil Nissan of Caritas Iraq and Fr. Raed Abusahlia of Caritas Jerusalem. Former Lebanese Minister of Finance, Damien Kattar, will be the guest speaker.

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