Refugee Crisis is 'Dehumanising' Victims, says Bishop Angaelos

Turkish military use a water cannon to stop Syrian refugees as they wait behind the border fences to cross into Turkey ((Photo: Reuters/Osman Orsal))

The refugee crisis is dehumanising victims of conflict, Bishop Angaelos has said, calling for collaboration between world religions in response to the situation.

Speaking at a World Council of Churches (WCC) Consultation in Munich, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, said: "This epidemic that we are seeing needs to be addressed collaboratively, across the Church and across religions, nation states, organisations, and international bodies.

"This crisis is larger than any one person, state, religion, or organisation, and so we need to encourage one another to move on in active collaboration."

He added: "Without a streamlining of our efforts, we will see a wastage of both human and material resources."

The danger, Bishop Angaelos said, is that the scale of the crisis has caused those affected by the disaster to be dehumanised.

We are witnessing "a dehumanisation and a loss of dignity of those people [displaced]," he said.

"They do not leave their countries unless they feel that they no longer have a viable presence there.

"We need to look with a new heart, to encourage our states and governments, and all who make decisions, to look at these people as more than mere statistics."

Although the task is great, Angaelos appealed to the churches to remain hopeful. "In an abject darkness" there is "a great opportunity for us all to be light... and a light that can and will make a difference," he said.

Taking part in the WCC consultation were 35 bishops and church leaders from twenty countries, and representatives from a variety of churches across Europe.

This article was originally published in Christian Today. 

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