7-June-2013 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" Sponsors Meeting on Syrian Relief Efforts

Call on International Community to Support Countries Receiving Refugees

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY, June 07, 2013 (Zenit.org) - From June 4-5, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" sponsored a meeting in Rome with 25 charities and relief organizations who are working in aiding the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Also present at the meeting were Catholic donors, representatives of the Holy See and the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria.

In a communique released by the Holy See, participants renewed their committment as well as the Holy Father's appeal for an end to violence and begin a path towards dialogue and reconciliation.

"The local Churches have responded concretely to the population, both in Syria and the entire region, from the beginning of the conflict," the communique stated. "More than 400,000 persons are regularly supported, without discrimination, by humanitarian aid to the cost of more than 25 million euro."

The Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" confirmed the extent of the humanitarian crisis in the region, confirming a whopping 7 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 4.5 million who have been forcibly displaced due to the crisis. Countless others are continuing to seek "security outside of the country's borders."

With summer approaching, the organizations warned of a rise in epidemics in the population, putting children, pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled at risk.

"In the face of this alarming situation, the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" has launched an appeal on behalf of all the agencies involved to economically support the humanitarian efforts and the search for peace, in the hopes of rebuilding a country that has been torn and destroyed by the conflict," the communique confirmed.

The Pontifical Council also called on the international community to provide support to countries bordering Syria that are receiving refugees as well as conducting humanitarian missions. Although they acknowledged that in recent months, the international community is beginning to respond, the meeting of relief organizations stated that mediation efforts "still seem insufficient."

Thus the risks are increasing that the conflict in Syria might become another endless war in which the first victims are defenceless civilians, who are often treated as targets in the "useless massacre" of this ongoing violence.

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