Jordan... a recipient of refugees

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Jordan... a recipient of refugees

By Fr. Rif’at Bader

Jordan has been characterized as the country that welcomes the forcibly displaced brethren and those knocking on its doors seeking justice, tranquility and a secure future for their children with arms wide open.

His Holiness Pope Francis praised the efforts exerted by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in welcoming the refugees and reiterated his call for respecting the status quo in the Holy City of Jerusalem in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions.

In the annual address of His Holiness Pope Francis to the members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See for the traditional exchange of new year greetings, he commended the efforts undertaken by Jordan, despite the prevailing difficult circumstance, to welcome multitudes of refugees who sought a safe haven. The Pope spoke about Lebanon, the country that is playing the same role as Jordan does, namely by receiving the vulnerable brethren and treating their wounds.

The Pontiff added that Jordan’s welcoming of the refugees deserves the appreciation and support of the entire international community. He also called upon the international community to create the optimum conditions for the repatriation of Syrian refugees hoping that the time has come to rebuild homes and restore love among people. It is worthy to note that this is the third time that the Pope commends the role played by Jordan which is referred to as “heroic” by the entire world.

At a time when leading world countries are still considering the possibility of opening or closing their borders in the face of the forcibly displaced, Jordan refrained from standing idly by or merely watching the tragedy experienced by these people from afar. Jordan, in turn, opted to open its arms and welcome the forcibly displaced so as to present a model for the world leading countries about its efforts to alleviate the suffering of the suffering brethren, to raise their morale, and to comfort them.

In this context, it is necessary to commend the efforts exerted by Jordan’s official departments, that made the open-door policy a practical recipe for countries that receive refugees, as well as to commend the relevant efforts exerted by several institutions including those affiliated with the Catholic Church, such as Caritas Jordan, which really deserves praise and appreciation.

On the other hand, His Holiness the Pope reiterated in his address a pressing appeal that every initiative be carefully weighed so as to avoid exacerbating hostilities, and called for a common commitment to respect, in conformity with the relevant United Nations Resolutions, the status quo of Jerusalem, a city sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims. He added that seventy years of confrontation make more urgent than ever the need for a political solution that allows the presence in the region of two independent states within internationally recognized borders.

The Pope's address focused this year on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is a historic document that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session on December 10, 1948. Further to this, several efforts were exerted by Jordan designed to promote human rights and dignity through the constitution, laws and legislation, in addition to the research and studies centers specialized in human rights which are located throughout the Kingdom.

The characteristic attributed to Jordan as the country that welcomes the forcibly displaced is encouraging, makes one takes pride in, and serves as an invitation to the brotherly and friendly countries of the world not to leave Jordan alone, but to fulfill their humanitarian and international obligations towards the brethren who seek security and stability. It is also a credit that can be added to Jordan’s achievements at the international levels with regard to its role in entrenching harmony among the members of the universal family.

Praise be to Jordan. May the Lord help Jordan serve as a model to be emulated for compassion and for helping the vulnerable brethren of our universe.

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