Today is Human Rights Day, a day to uphold and give voice to those whose basic human rights have been stripped from them. This past year has been a gross display of human rights abuses around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
Syria and Iraq have become the defining humanitarian crisis of our time. Millions of men, women, and children are now living without running water, adequate food supply, basic medical attention, or shelter.
Their stories are going unheard by a deaf international community. There is no justice, equality, or safety available for these exiles.
After ISIS seized their town, Saleem fled with his wife and eight children—two of them with special needs—in the middle of the night, barely escaping with their lives. Before the violence exploded in Iraq, Saleem and his family had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle.
After traveling for days, the traumatized and exhausted family took refuge at the Ankawa refugee camp—a tent city where 3,000 displaced Iraqis are surviving on a day-to-day basis. Saleem has no money to buy food for his family and must rely on the kindness of strangers. They will often go an entire day, possibly even several, without eating.
A biting wind blows mercilessly through the camp and open sewage flows between the tents from nearby portable toilets. Sickness is rampant and medical care is virtually nonexistent. Saleem wonders if all of his children will survive the winter—a question no father should have to ask.
Hatred, extremism, and discrimination have denied the basic human rights of Saleem’s family and millions more in the Middle East. And we are refusing to let these innocent people go unnoticed, especially on Human Rights Day. The very least we can do today is acknowledge their suffering and give what we can to provide a source of hope—clean water, food, medicine, blankets, coats, heaters.
We believe that all people matter to God because they are made in His image . . . making every day Human Rights Day for Christ followers. Will you join us in sharing love, restoring dignity, and fostering well-being? We pray you will champion human rights today, tomorrow, and year round.