US Policy Advisor on Religious Freedom Visits ADFA in Beirut After Our Participation in IRF Summit
Lebanon is falling apart. All who are in the country are in dire straits, no matter what their nationality or status is in Lebanon. But for refugees, the challenges are even greater. They are caught between a rock and a hard place. They now see the country they fled to cracking under pressure, but they can’t go back to their home countries. The countries that they hoped would grant them asylum have closed their doors.
We have 1,200 Christian Iraqi and Syrian families registered at our office in Beirut. Which government will support them? … It’s just devastating.
ADFA Raises Concerns with US Officials and International Media
We are happy that just three weeks after ADFA’s side event and press conference at the IRF Summit in Washington DC, the Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) visited ADFA's office in Lebanon. Nadine Maenza and her daughter Julia Maenza honored us with a visit. They both met with our team in Septiye (Beirut) and with several of the refugees who are registered with us. Georges Soulage, chief editor of al-Joumhouria, Archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church George Saliba, Joseph Miro from the municipality of Bouchrieh, and filmmaker Elyas Salameh also joined us.
At the Summit, our speakers Nuri Kino, Archbishop John Kavak, Susan Korah, Georges Soulage, Steve Oshana, and Tabeetha Adde-Bisso raised important concerns relating to persecuted Assyrians / Syriacs / Chaldeans, and other indigenous people, especially to genocide survivors who are now stranded as displaced persons in Lebanon. We referred to the exodus of Christians from Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon.
International Media Coverage
We also brought the media’s attention to these points, and to the serious problems facing Lebanon and Syria today. See the tab ”Articles about our work”. From Lebanese newspaper al-Joumhouriya:
Lebanese Press Reports on US Official's Visit to ADFA:
Following a press conference held last month by the non-governmental organization A Demand for Action (ADFA) in Washington, where they presented painful testimonies about the tragic situation in Lebanon, Nadine Besler Maenza, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), decided to visit Lebanon and familiarize herself with the situation on the ground.
She met with the president and founder of ADFA, Nuri Kino at the organization's office in Beirut, in order to better understand the current situation in the country, in terms of the shortage of food, medicine, and gasoline. Ms. Maenza also visited some Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria in their homes, which are converted shops and are almost uninhabitable.
After seeing the appalling conditions they live in, she promised to look into their cases. The refugees had fled terrorism and faith-based persecution in their home countries.
Ms. Maenza expressed her deep concern for the sufferings of the Lebanese people, and of vulnerable refugees who live in Lebanon. She also had words of high praise for the efforts made by ADFA to serve them.
ADFA helps them with their basic needs such as food, housing, and healthcare, and pays their rent and medical expenses.
*Reported by al-Joumhouriya on August 13.
Note: USCIRF makes policy recommendations to the US government on issues related to International Religious Freedom.
ADFA's Nuri Kino's strong and moving speech at the IRF
(International Religious Freedom) Summit 2021.
Editor-in-chief of the Lebanese daily newspaper Al Joumhouria
Journalist and ADFA’s representative in Canada
ADFA’s executive director
ADFA’s legal officer