EAI & Church in Chains

EAI and Church in Chains send joint letter to the Department of Justice seeking justice for Christian refugees from Syria and Eritrea.

 

The letter was jointly signed by Nick Park, Executive Director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland and David Turner, Director of Church in Chains. www.churchinchains.ie 

 

The full text of the letter reads as follows:

Ms Carol Baxter

Assistant Secretary for Asylum Services

Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Bishop’s Square

Redmond’s Hill

DUBLIN 2

 

15 May 2017

 

Dear Ms Baxter,

We write to appeal to the Irish government to offer asylum to Syrian and Eritrean Christian refugees in the context of the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).

In relation to Syria, we are concerned that the refugee selection process of the IRPP, focusing exclusively on UNHCR, is unconsciously discriminating against Syrian Christian refugees.

Our concern is that the laudable and historic principle of providing assistance in a non-discriminatory way (through UNHRC) is in itself discriminating against those Christians in Syria who, having fled Islamic extremist forces, have been forced out of the UN system because of further persecution from a minority of Muslim refugees in UN camps. We ask that Ireland note this fact when selecting refugees to come to Ireland and seek to take some Christians who have suffered this “double persecution”.

In relation to Eritrea, we were encouraged to read that Ireland has pledged to take refugees from Eritrea. Christians in Ireland have had a long-standing concern about the persecution of Christians in Eritrea, which has been ongoing since the Eritrean government's decision in 2002 to close down all churches in the country apart from Orthodox, Lutheran and Roman Catholic, and the imprisonment without trial of many Christians.

Therefore, we ask that in selecting Eritrean refugees to settle in Ireland cognisance be given to the fact that many Christians there have also suffered a “double persecution” i.e. persecution meted out on grounds of their religious beliefs in addition to the general repression in the country and that Ireland should seek to ensure that Christians who have suffered for their faith be included in those selected.

In making this appeal, we would like to make clear that we are not asking for special treatment for Christian refugees but rather asking that Christians who have suffered additional persecution/discrimination because of their Christian faith and who may not be receiving aid through official (UNHRC/Red Cross) channels are not overlooked in the operation of IRPP.

Yours faithfully,

Nick Park, Executive Director, Evangelical Alliance Ireland

David Turner, Director, Church in Chains