Representatives from the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill and Blauvelt, along with their Sisters from across the nation, will be in Washington, D.C., tomorrow (April 15) through Thursday to press Congress to “immediately improve U.S. efforts to resettle Iraqi refugees.”
This isn’t a new subject for the Dominican Sisters.
In this Journal News file photo from Nov. 13, 2004, The Dominican Sisters Justice Promoteres held a press conference at Rosary Hall at Dominican College in Blauvelt to discuss human rights in Iraq. At the time, there were about 200 Dominican sisters living in Bagdad, Basra and Mosul. The panel pictured were, from left to right, Sisters Arlene Flaherty of Blauvelt, Pat DeMarco of Amityville, Ceil Lavin of Blauvelt, Ursula McGovern of Blauvlet, Pat Jelly of Newburgh and Anne Lythgoe of Elkins Park, Pa.
A message put out today by the Sisters said:
In 2007 the United States fell far short of its promise to permanently resettle 7,000 Iraqis and already the promise to resettle 12,000 Iraqis in 2008 is showing a dismally slow start. Approximately 2,500 of the promised 7,000 were resettled in 2007.
Sisters Patricia Horan and Arlene Flaherty will represent Blauvelt. Sister Flaherty “coordinated the Delegation of Women Religious who went to Lebanon and Syria to experience the crisis of the Iraqi refugees who have been displaced as a result of the War with Iraq.”
Sister Eileen Gannon will represent Sparkill and all Dominican Sisters, as she represents the Dominican Leadership as a non-governmental (NGO) representative at the United Nations.
This is what the Sisters, along with Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), are calling on Congress to do:
â€¢ Strengthen humanitarian assistance to the region by providing increased funding to international organizations and non-governmental organizations providing essential humanitarian aid to internally displaced Iraqis and Iraqi refugees in neighboring countries. Also provide additional bilateral assistance to refugee hosting countries to help their national systems expand to accommodate refugee needs and to ease the strains on local communities.
â€¢ Increase support for reconciliation, recovery and community-based development in Iraq.
â€¢ Improve U.S. admissions and resettlement of especially vulnerable refugees from Iraq by becoming the global leader in resettling displaced Iraqis in an expedient manner, giving priority to the most vulnerable cases in accordance with UNHCR guidelines.
For more information about their efforts, you can visit this website; to learn more about the Dominican Sisters in Blauvelt and Sparkill, go here.
(And for those of you wondering why someone named Amy Vernon is writing this post and not Suzan Clarke, that’s because Suzan’s out of the office for a couple of weeks. I’ll try to pop in occasionally with updates while she’s away.)