Yesterday Caritas Internationalis began a three-day meeting in Rome on issues regarding the crisis in the Middle East, with Development and Peace very much involved. The Caritas organizations of the Middle East, as well as Caritas partner associations, are meeting to assess the humanitarian situation and to re-evaluate the response of the confederation to the crises in the region.
The president of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, opened the meeting with these words: “We are confronted with the greatest crisis the world has faced since the Second World War. […] Peace in the Middle East must be based on justice for all peoples. It must not be imposed from outside, but achieved from within. We need inclusive regional talks.”
Gilio Brunelli, Director of International Programs, and Guy Des Aulniers, Emergency Programs Officer for the Middle East, are on hand to represent Development and Peace.
“This meeting reflects the concerns and commitment of Development and Peace; we are concerned about the fate of all people in the region, about what is currently happening to them and about what we can do for the future.
We believe that an integrated approach is needed to address these challenges, including all dimensions: humanitarian aid; community development; education to diversity and tolerance, reconciliation and conviviality; respect for minorities; and a state building based on the role of the law and on citizenry rights” argues Gillio Brunelli.
Development and Peace is currently working with the Caritas network, and other civil-society organizations in the region, to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the crises in Syria, Gaza and Iraq:
- Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Development and Peace has invested $13M to help various population groups that are victims of the crisis.
- We are supporting displaced Iraqi population groups in the country thanks to a contribution of $1M from the government of Canada, with support from Caritas Iraq and the Catholic Relief Services.
- We are using a $50,000 fund to help Iraqi refugees in Istanbul, in conjunction with Caritas Turkey.
- Development and Peace is collaborating with Caritas Jerusalem, with a budget of $50,000, to help cover some of the urgent needs created by the crisis in Gaza.
Since its founding in 1967, Development and Peace has maintained a constant presence in the Middle East, responding to the recurrent humanitarian crises in the region. In the past ten years, our work has focused on supporting local organizations that carry out peacebuilding activities. These include training leaders to be proponents of peace and promoting communication and non-violent solutions.