June Delivery is Underway

This month, Chairman William J. Murray traveled to Iraq to oversee the second diaper delivery of the year. This month, 160,000 diapers will be delivered to Christian refugee camps across Iraq along with adult diapers, feminine hygiene pads and other basic food or hygiene staples. 

In order for a family to receive diapers, they must present a government-issued identification card that has the child’s name, picture and birth date on it. Each child and family is put on file for the next delivery. This helps keep the distributions running smoothly and efficiently. 

To find out how you can help these families, click here. Scroll through pictures of our first delivery below!

Front Line: Inside Iraqi Soldiers’ Anti-IS War

The walkie-talkie in the commander’s hand buzzes and crackles as soldiers line up their humvees and tanks, readying themselves to enter Islamic State territory. “Tell all the men to put on helmets,” are the orders over the walkie-talkie. “I don’t want to see anyone without a helmet!” A few minutes later, many of the soldiers still…READ MORE

Diapers for Refugees Program Expands in Small But Important Way

March diaper distribution marks start of year two: In March more than $18,000 was transferred to our ministry partner in Iraq to begin year two of the Diapers for Refugees program. The first distribution of 160,000 diapers was conducted last year in March. The cost has remained stable over the last year and our cost for absorbent, high quality diapers made in Turkey is still right at 11 cents each. The same quality diaper purchased in the United States would cost more, and there would be the added shipping costs to Iraq.

The camps having caravans are the best equipped. Each family in Ashti 2 lives in a small caravan shaped like a boxcar except smaller, and sitting on cinder blocks.  A standard size mobile home in the United States is 90 feet long and 16 feet wide and 76 feet long. By contrast the largest caravans in the camps fortunate enough to have them are 21 feet long and 9 ft wide, or about 189 sq. ft. for an average family of four. That is not very much space and few families are fortunate enough to have that much.The program services about 300 displaced Christian families who live in official refugee camps such as Ashti 2. The distribution process is extremely orderly. Our ministry partner keeps a record of each family with infants registered at the camp by name, caravan number, number of children, home town, and previous number of diapers received.

As a result, there are cramped conditions in the camps which are extremely densely populated, and therefore the distributions must be done in an orderly way. It is very important that only the families in need of the diapers receive them.

Filling a real need:  One of the greatest needs for the women and teenage girls is feminine sanitary pads. As part of the Christmas for Refugees program last December, the family of every child who participated received hygiene materials. In these large, sturdy plastic bags filled with soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies, there were feminine sanitary pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

Our Iraqi partner requested funds for a three-month supply for 5,000 displaced Christian women located in several camps. This would have required 15,000 packets at a cost of about $1.00 per packet or $15,000. We just do not have the budget for that need at the current time. As a result, we sent the funds for feminine sanitary pads only to the mothers in the 300 families we are currently supplying with baby diapers.

Most ministries and aid organization focus on food, clothing, housing and items for survival but not those things that make survival under these conditions bearable.  The hygiene items also help to prevent outbreaks of disease in the densely crowded refugee camps.

Diaper distributions are scheduled for June, September and December. It is my sincere prayer that the funds for the entire year can be raised and set aside in the next thirty days. Having the funds for the year would allow us to once again concentrate on the Christmas program.

Please continue to pray with me for the Lord to guide us in the best use of our means to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Christians Celebrate Palm Sunday in Qaraqosh

Hundreds of Christians came together in Qaraqosh, Iraq to celebrate Palm Sunday for the first time in three years. They worshiped in a church that had been torched by Islamic State militants.

In October, Iraqi forces and the Christian militia pushed Islamic State militants out of Qaraqosh as part of a campaign to retake Mosul and the Nineveh Plain from the terror organization.

[su_button url=”http://diapersforrefugees.org/helping-christian-refugees/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers. Please help![/su_button]

Reuters reported:

Hundreds arrived in cars from Erbil, the main city in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan where most Christian had fled when Islamic State gave them an ultimatum to pay special taxes, convert or die.

“We need reconciliation,” Syriac Catholic Archbishop of Mosul Butrus Moshe told worshippers in the Immaculate Conception Church guarded by army jeeps.

Islamic State has targeted minority communities in both Iraq and Syria, setting churches on fire.

Scribbled “Islamic State” slogans could be still seen on the church’s walls while torn-up prayer books littered the floor.

Escorted by soldiers carrying rifles, the congregation then walked through Qaraqosh for Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week that culminates on Easter Sunday, holding up a banner saying “In times of war we bring peace.”

The number of Christians in Iraq drastically decreased after the US invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

ISIS Militants Disguised as Iraqi Police Slaughter 31 People

Islamic State militants posed as Iraqi police officers, slaughtering 31 people and wounded 40 in an attack in Tikrit in northern Iraq.

According to Ireland’s Independent.ie, the militants first targeted a police checkpoint and then the house of a police colonel who was the head of the counter-terrorism services. They later turned their fire on civilians in nearby shops.

When they ran out of ammunition, two of the Islamic State jihadists detonated suicide vests.

Reports state that the 10 jihadists gained entrance to the city by disguising themselves as Iraqi police officers and driving a police vehicle. It is believed that five of the militants survived and are in hiding.

Fourteen of the people killed in the attack were policemen, including the colonel who was killed with four other members of his family.

 

Congressman Chris Smith Bill On Genocide Advances From Committee

By: Frank York

The bipartisan Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act (H.R. 390), authored by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), unanimously passed in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This legislation will help those who have suffered at the hands of ISIS—and hold perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes to account.

“ISIS has committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Christians, Yezidis and other religious and ethnic minority communities in Iraq and Syria,” said Smith, who introduced similar legislation last Congress. “Many of them are now internally displaced or refugees and desperately need aid. Unless at least some humanitarian, stabilization and recovery assistance is intentionally directed to the survivors, many are them at risk of being forced to leave their ancient homelands forever. Some may even put their lives in the hands of human smugglers and attempt the deadly Mediterranean journey to Europe.”

[su_button url=”http:/refugeediaperhelp.org/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers.[/su_button]

Since 2013, Smith has chaired nine Congressional hearings on atrocities in Iraq and Syria, including one entitled The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next? and another entitled Fulfilling the Humanitarian Imperative: Assisting Victims of ISIS Violence. Last December, Smith traveled to Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Iraq to witness first-hand the plight of genocide survivors and see the humanitarian assistance the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese of Erbil is providing with support from organizations like the Knights of Columbus to more than 70,000 Christians—1/3 of Christians remaining in Iraq—who escaped ISIS.

H.R. 390, co-sponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18) along with 34 other Members, includes key provisions directing the U.S. Administration to:

  • Support entities that are effectively serving genocide survivors in-country, including faith-based entities;
  • Assess and address the humanitarian vulnerabilities, needs, and triggers that might force survivors to flee their homes;
  • Identify warning signs of deadly violence against genocide survivors and other vulnerable religious and ethnic communities in Iraq or Syria;
  • Support entities that are conducting criminal investigation into perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Iraq;
  • Recommend where to close gaps in U.S. law so that the American justice system can prosecute foreign perpetrators present in the U.S., as well as any Americans who commit such crimes;
  • Encourage foreign countries to add identifying information about suspected perpetrators  of such atrocity crimes in their security databases and security screening;

“Christians have lived in Iraq since the 1st century and only 250,000 remain, down from 500,000 in 2013, the year before ISIS began its campaign of genocide,” said Smith. “Yezidis have lived in Iraq since the 12th century and their population has dropped 20 to 30 percent from 2013. There are other ancient religious and ethnic minority groups targeted for crimes against humanity and war crimes that likewise need our attention and assistance if they are to survive in their home countries or at least the region. This bill will help ensure that survivors receive our aid and that perpetrators of crimes against them are held accountable.”

New Christian refugees arriving in Erbil, Iraq camps

By William J. Murray

Camps for displaced persons swelling during Mosul assault: Over the last two weeks I have received emails and urgent calls about the situation in northern Iraq. Refugee camps are being overrun by refugees from Mosul. In 2004 the city of Mosul had a population of 1.6 million. It is estimated that about 700,000 still remained after the takeover by the Islamic State in 2014. Most of the Christians fled to the Erbil area. Shia Muslims moved to other towns. Many of the Sunni Muslims stayed. Tens of thousands are now fleeing because of house to house fighting.

The Iraqi Army along with Shia Muslim militias have entered Mosul and the fighting is intense. When I was in Iraq in December, standing in the decimated town of Qaraqosh, I was close enough to Mosul to here artillery strikes in the city.

Christians who were trapped in Mosul in 2014 are now fleeing along with tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims. The result is chaos, as the Kurdish Authority who controls the area does not know who to trust.

Meanwhile the need is great.

Instead of the refugee camps we support in Erbil thinning out, there are more displaced persons arriving, many of them with babies. The Diapers for Refugees program does need to expand but the funds are not available now. The program is filling the needs of about 300 families and that is the best we can do.

Female refugees have an unmet need: One of the greatest needs is sanitary pads for women. As part of the Christmas for Refugees program last December, the family of every child who participated received hygiene materials. In these heavy plastic bags filled with soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies, there were feminine sanitary pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

The financial goal for the month of March for the Diapers for Refugees program was reached early, and I have been working to put together a program for the sanitary supplies needed for women. Our Iraqi partner is obtaining quotes for different quantities from various suppliers in Turkey. That is the only place, for now, where we can obtain high quality supplies without the expense of shipping from the United States.

This is such a taboo subject in the Middle East that even getting the men who run the ministry in Iraq to make calls to suppliers was difficult. This is not America, where products to enhance sex are advertised on TV during family hours. (I wish at least some subjects were taboo here, but it seems in the age of “gay is great” nothing is taboo in the US.)

I may travel to Iraq and Jordan in May or June to assess what is being done and how our capacities may be able to help.  The need is very great and we must make sure that the small amounts we have to help with serve the needs of persecuted Christians in the most useful way.

Please continue to pray with me for the Lord to guide us as to how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Diaper Delivery Set for This Month in Iraq

The need is greater than we can fill: I really wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in 2017 but for now we are staying with our initial program of delivering 160,000 diapers every three months to Christian refugees families with infants in the Erbil area.

The program is filling the needs of about 300 families. Tight records are kept by our ministry partner. With the help of refugee camp leaders, a list is maintained of every family with a child needing diapers. On that list is the name of the parents; the name of the child or children; the age of the child or children; the village they came from; and the number of the caravan they have been assigned to live in.

I watched the process when I was there in December. Our diaper deliveries are conducted in March, June, September and December. Because of that schedule, I was present for diaper distribution while there for the Christmas for Refugees events held for the older children.

During one of my visits to a refugee center, I saw two young children dressed in red and white for Christmas carrying home diapers for their mother who is to the left behind them in the photo at right. Parents do their best to try to make Christmas normal for their children.

The families try hard and the men who are still with their families look for work every day or volunteer for ministry work. These are hardworking, caring Christian people. Given the chance the Christians of Iraq will rebuild as they have every time since 638 when Muslims first invaded and destroyed their homes and churches.

Women’s personal needs: One area I have wanted to expand the Diapers for Refugees program in was to help with women’s feminine pads. This is a taboo subject in the Middle East and as a result there is a great need.

As part of the Christmas for Refugees program the family of every child who participated received a large box or heavy plastic bag of hygiene materials in December. In with the soaps, shampoos, disinfectants, laundry soaps and other supplies were feminine pads. Some of the women visibly cried when they saw what they were getting.

At some point, funds permitting, I want to add feminine products as a part of the Diapers for Refugees program. This is just the second year of the program and we do not want to expand too fast, particularly in an unpredictable year of a brand-new presidency.

Please pray with me for the Lord to guide us how best to help the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.

Trump’s Revised Refugee Ban Doesn’t Prioritize Persecuted Christians

Christians wishing to flee the Middle East in search of asylum will not take first priority under the updated version of President Trump’s executive order on travel and refugees, which was signed Monday morning.

The new executive order does away with language about explicitly prioritizing religious minorities and loosens initial limits on who’s allowed to enter the US.

According to Christianity Today, “Current visa holders, refugees already granted asylum, and travelers from Iraq no longer face restrictions, and the indefinite ban on refugees from Syria was reduced to 120 days – same as the overall refugee population. The executive order goes into place next Thursday.”

Surveys have found that most self-identified white evangelicals approve of Trump’s temporary moratorium on refugees, but most evangelical leaders oppose it.

[su_button url=”http://diapersforrefugees.org/helping-christian-refugees/”]Babies of Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing the Islamic State need diapers – Please help![/su_button]

Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, the evangelical refugee resettlement agency, said “The issuance of a new executive order on refugees and immigrants acknowledges that there were significant problems with the first executive order that caught up green card holders and others as they tried to enter the United States.” World Relief was forced to close five offices and lay off 140 employees after Trump’s decision to decrease America’s intake of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000.

Breene added: “However, this new executive order does not solve the root problems with the initial order—the cutting of refugee admissions by 55 percent and the inability for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees to come to the United States. It is more of the same.”

Christianity Today reported:

“Trump’s new order considers “fear of persecution or torture” without explicitly calling out religious factors. The earlier one contained a provision to prioritize persecuted religious minorities once the refugee program resumed, and the president spoke in a TV interview about helping Christians in particular.

Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, raised concerns that religious minorities in the Middle East need refuge more than ever.

‘There’s a dire need for President Trump to issue a separate executive order—one specifically aimed to help ISIS genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria,’ she wrote. ‘For three years, the Christians, Yizidis and others of the smallest religious minorities have been targeted by ISIS with beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and sexual enslavement …. The Christian community is now so shattered and vulnerable, without President Trump’s prompt leadership, the entire Iraqi Christian presence could soon be wiped out.’ …

‘How do we take care of our Christian sisters and brothers in Syria and Iraq? Have we stopped to ask them what that would look like?’ wrote executive director Jeremy Courtney following Trump’s first order. ‘I don’t mean just being a safe haven to run to when their churches and homes are destroyed by violence, but whether we as a nation are pursuing the policies and diplomacy that give them the greatest chance of surviving and flourishing where they are—so they don’t have to flee their homeland.’”

Iraq 101: Iraq who’s fighting who?

Everything You Need to Know About Iraq in Under 10 Minutes Recently returned from war-torn Iraq, Clarion’s Legal Analyst Jennifer Breedon explains in simple terms who is fighting whom and why.

The Diapers for Refugees program is preparing for the first diaper delivery of 2017 in March. The aim of the Diapers for Refugees program is to provide 160,000 disposable diapers every three months to displaced Christian families living in refugee camps.

These families have little-to-no access to soap and warm water to clean cloth diapers. Because of this, diseases spread quickly and families across these camps are dying from diaper rash and they need our help.

To find out more about the Diapers for Refugees program, click here.

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