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Church World Service Kicks Off "Refugees In Crisis" Campaign
U.S Proposes Deep Cuts to Refugee Admissions and Overseas Refugee Support
 

June 28, 2000, NEW YORK -- In protest of an imminent move by Congress to fund future U.S. refugee assistance at an unprecedented low, the Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program is joining a coalition of non-governmental and faith-based organizations in their launch of an urgent, national campaign on behalf of refugees.  Church World Service (CWS) is a part of the Refugee Council USA, formed in January 2000 to champion the plight of refugees.  The campaign begins in July with public forums in Louisville, Bowling Green and Lexington, Kentucky on July 5 and 6.        

The public forums, hosted by local organizations and conducted by Refugee Council advocacy specialists from Washington, D.C., will include CWS national staff and representatives from local refugee resettlement offices.  The forums will feature a dramatic video presentation of refugees around the world followed by a discussion of specific things people can do to help. 

The “Refugees In Crisis” campaign kicks off in Kentucky and will continue in communities throughout the country this summer. The goal is to heighten public awareness of the issues and mobilize support in the form of letters and personal visits to key members of Congress. 

Background 

This year there are more than 14 million persons in flight or languishing in refugee camps, uprooted from their homelands by persecution and strife. Most of them are women and children. Many are in danger of being forcibly returned to their tormentors.  All of them appeal to our conscience for a vigorous and humane response. 

The U.S. commitment to refugees is in decline. In recent years, U.S. resettlement of refugees has declined by more than 42%--from 132,000 individuals in 1992 (even then well under 1% of the worldwide total) to possibly 76,000 in 2001.  Assistance to groups like the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which provide refugees with immediate protection and enable them to return to their homelands wherever possible, may also be cut. 

Church World Service and the Refugee Council USA are recommending increased efforts to help refugees.  The Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program resettles refugees from around the world through a network of partner denominations, local resettlement offices and sponsoring congregations.  CWS has an international presence in Africa where they process thousands of African refugees each year.  The Refugee Council USA is a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations focused on refugee protection which began its operations in January 2000. The Refugee Council USA provides focused, effective advocacy on issues affecting the protection and rights of refugees and displaced persons in the United States and across the world.

When:     Wednesday, July 5, 6:30 p.m.
What:     Public Forum on ‘Refugees in Crisis’
Where:   The Jewish Community Center, 3600 Dutchmens Lane, Louisville, Ky.
Contact: Carol Young, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, 502-452-9055, cyoung@kyrm.org
Father Pat Delahanty, Policy Analyst, Catholic Conference of Kentucky, 502-581-9154

When:    Wednesday, July 5, 7:00 p.m.
What:     Public Forum on ‘Refugees in Crisis’
Where:   Presbyterian Church, 1003 State Street, Bowling Green, Ky.
Contact:  Martha Deputy, 270-781-8336, Western Kentucky Mutual Assistance 

When:    Thursday, July 6, 7:00 p.m. 
What:     Public Forum on ‘Refugees in Crisis’ 
Where:   Crestwood Christian Church, 1882 Bellefonte Drive, Lexington, Ky. 
Contact:  Barbara Kleine, 859-226-5661, Kentucky Refugee Ministries 

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