Asia hosts the largest number of refugees among the other continents in the world; churches in Asia express solidarity to them as the World Refugee Day marks its sixth year of celebration Tuesday.
According to a press statement released by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), the General Secretary quoted the number of refugees in some Asian countries unveiled by the most recent United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report entitled The State of the World's Refugees: Human Displacement in the New Millennium.
Even though the overall number of world refugees has fallen to the lowest level in 25 years, it does not mean that less social injustices occurring worldwide. Rather, conflicts are now confining within nations- between ethnic and cultural groups.
Currently, Iran accommodates 1,046,000 refugees and Pakistan, 961,000. These refugees exclude some 1.9 million Afghans living elsewhere in Pakistan. Latest added are 1,700 Sri Lankan who fled to India last January 2006, after violence erupted anew between the warring Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels.
According to Refugee International, a Washington D.C. based institution, 5 million Burmese are internally displaced along Thai-Burma border. While over 1 million Burmese have fled to neighboring nations.
CCA encourages all churches and church-based organizations to reiterate their voices as the conscience of the world. "We must remind affluent countries especially US, Canada and Australia that centuries ago, history recorded them as "refugees" in the land they now call their own. And they should not be strict, but be sympathetic to uprooted people they once belong!" said the general secretary of CAA.
In addition, CCA called on "world leaders of both asylum nations and countries of origin to work with international organizations, and most importantly with the displaced communities themselves, to re-examine circumstances causing long-term displacement and develop comprehensive plans for lasting solution."
North Korea has remained to be the worst human rights violator in Asia. Christian agencies have also particularly called on prayers for the nations. Open Doors has urged Christians to focus on the Chinese treatment on North Korea.
While North Korea remains on Open Door's World Watch List as the worst human rights violator for the fourth straight year, Christian leaders have called fellow believers and congregants to join the prayer call as it is observed through vigils and prayer meetings worldwide.
Meanwhile, the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization and the Lausanne Movement has declared June 25 as the International Day of Prayer for North Korea in support of the chairman of the Asia Lausanne Committee Dr. Jong Yun Lee, who is also the president of Save North Korea. The day also marks the start of the Korean War.
Lee stated the three prayer points. The first is for the freedom of religion to be granted in North Korea, second is for the North Korean defectors be recognized as refugees so that they will be guaranteed the freedom of residence and the third is for the divided Korean peninsula be reunited by the Gospel.