Refugees trapped on Belarus border

Source:                      www.MNNonline.org

Date:                           December 14, 2021

 

Belarus (MNN) — Thousands of refugees remain trapped between Belarus and other European countries. Lithuania recently extended a state of emergency over the situation.

Belarus has forced some refugees to cross the border, using them as political leverage against the European Union. Lithuanian and Polish border guards push them back. At least 13 refugees have died as winter sets in. Belarus has provided shelter for some of the refugees, but many remain in the cold.

Anne Hamming with Tent Schools International says Belarus offered refugees easy passage into Europe. “Many of them are fleeing from Iraq, fleeing from Syria. I think the vast majority are fleeing from Syria. Because again, that conflict is now in its 10th year, and it has not abated. My understanding too is a small number of them are from Yemen, as that conflict continues.”

The Image of God

Tent Schools International serves refugee kids from these same countries. How can Christians respond to this use of refugees as political pawns? Hamming says we need to see the Image of God in them. “But for the grace of God, we could be pushed from our homes by war or religious persecution. We need to see them as people who just want a safe place to raise their children, and who want someplace to call home.”

Want to get involved and help refugees? Hamming says 2022 will see many refugees resettled in the U.S. and other western countries. “Resettlement agencies are very rapidly ramping up efforts to find communities that can support resettled populations. For instance, many churches are sponsoring resettled refugees. They’re needing volunteers and financial donations to help provide a welcome.”

You can also support Tent Schools International’s work here.

The header photo shows the border between Belarus and Lithuania. (Photo courtesy of Aidas U., CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

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