PHILADELPHIA - June 21 - The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) joins the international community and calls on world leaders to end the global tensions and conflicts that have created havoc and destroyed the lives of more than 20 million refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons, stateless persons and others throughout the world.
Millions have witnessed the deaths of family members, the destruction of their communities or experienced physical, mental and psychological violence, and the destruction of their homes and displacement from their homelands.
The particularly vulnerable state of girls and women reflects the pernicious violation of international codes of conduct and the lack of accountability by state leaders and their governments. Millions of girls and women have been killed, or have experienced rape, assault, abduction, and other forms of gender-based exploitation.
It is morally incumbent upon our world leaders and governments to end inhumane cycles of aggression, and ensure compliance with the rule of law.
On this World Refugee Day AFSC particularly lifts up the fragility of the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, in the Middle East on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and in Africa -- specifically in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, and Zimbabwe. The Service Committee calls on the Bush administration and other world leaders to take decisive and diplomatic steps that end a conflict which has destroyed many lives and communities and has contributed to an increase in the number of Iraqi refugees. There are now more than 500,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria.
AFSC will continue to provide on-the-ground support, human resources, conflict mediation and funds to assist communities in the rebuilding process. Community-led and AFSC-supported programs are currently present in China, Haiti, Iraq, Indonesia, the Middle East, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and other parts of the world.
Domestically, AFSCís Project Voice works in partnership with immigrants and refugees to promote cross-community alliance building create humane and just public policies, support human rights trainings and advocacy efforts that support the integration of refugees in the nationís social and economic landscape.
The American Friends Service Committee supports the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their immigration status. AFSCís Project VOICE works to uplift immigrant voices and strengthen efforts of immigrant-led organizations to set an agenda for fair and humane national public policies. Backed by an 89-year history working for peace, justice and reconciliation in troubled areas of the world, the American Friends Service Committee is a faith-based organization grounded in Quaker beliefs respecting the dignity and worth of every person.