#922 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 6 Jul 2014.
We are all familiar with news reports of widespread violence, terror and civil war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of Africa, with political tensions often attenuated by religious impulses.
Regional conflicts have led to the highest numbers of forcibly displaced people since World War II. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates there were 51.2 million people classified as refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced people at the end of 2013, six million more than at the same time the year before.
Half of those displaced were children, and 86 per cent refugees find shelter from persecution and violence in developing countries rather than countries like Australia. A record 25,300 unaccompanied children lodged asylum applications in 77 countries in 2013, according to UNHCR.
And all this at a time when Australian political leaders are slamming the door shut, turning the boats away, and offering desperate asylum seekers money to return to their war-ravaged and profoundly hostile homelands.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.