ASIA/LEBANON - Patriarch Rai to President Aoun: People are exhausted, it is necessary to favor the repatriation of Syrian refugees

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 oriental churches   middle east   refugees   corruption  


Annaya (Agenzia Fides) - "Even with all our solidarity with the refugees, the Lebanese hope that the process to guarantee them a safe return in their Country, by setting aside the different political positions that hinder the solutions desired, will be reconsidered". With these words Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï directly addressed Lebanese President Michel Aoun, during the homily on the occasion of the Feast of St. Charbel, celebrated by the Primate of the Maronite Church in Saint Maron Monastery in Annaya, in the presence, among others, of Lebanon's Head of State, his wife Nadia and apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia. Addressed to Aoun, the Patriarch expressed appreciation and encouragement for the "good intentions" pursued by the President, but focused on the worries, the fatigue and the suffering of the Lebanese people that have also been severely aggravated by the presence of "two million refugees and displaced persons on the national territory who deprive the Lebanese people of their means of subsistence, leaving them in poverty and deprivation, and pushing new generations to emigrate".
In the homily, whose text was sent to Agenzia Fides, Patriarch Rai renewed the alarm also with regard to the "rampant corruption in the Country" and the "sectarian race in the cornering of public office", denouncing a policy of facts carried out that "go against the spirit of the Constitution, the National Pact and the mechanism for administrative appointments".
The delicate issue of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has become central to national political debate again after the security operations carried out by Lebanese forces in some refugee camps were initiated to neutralize some Syrian militants armed anti-Assad, and also marked by violence and explosions, which caused the death of some civilians. In past days two demonstrations were convened in Beirut for today Tuesday, July 18, one to denounce the violence suffered by Syrian refugees and the other to support the operation of the Lebanese armed forces. The two demonstrations were banned by the Interior Ministry to protect public order and avoid possible clashes in the square. But in the Country of Cedars tension increases, and the voices of those who ask to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their own land multiply. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 18/7/2017)