Ecumenical Prayer Service on World Refugee Day 2011

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Andreasgemeinde, St Andrew's Scots Church and the Jesuit Refugee Service announce an Ecumenical Prayer Service to pray for those who those who have drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach safety in Europe.

The service is being held to coincide with World Refugee Day (20 June).

Friday, 17 June 2011
Barriera (Quarry) Wharf, near the Fishmarket (Pixkerija), Valletta
Time: 7.00pm
Estimated duration: 30minutes 

After the start of the uprising in Libya, tens of thousands of foreign nationals living and working in Libya were evacuated in a massive operation in which Malta played a very significant role. Others, who had fled from their countries of origin and had been in Libya with the hope of accessing international protection, were not included in the evacuations. These included over 10,000 persons known to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, for whom the only way out was by land to neighbouring countries.

Fearing the dangers of the land route or unable to get out in time, several hundreds (including families with babies and children) took to sea on overcrowded boats. Many reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, almost 1,500 others reached Malta. Numerous others never made it to anywhere. It is estimated that at least 1,200 refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean, since the conflict in Libya began.

The churches want to commemorate in prayer those who died at sea. Some have left relatives (even in Malta) grieving for their loss. Others went down without leaving a trace. We wish to bring their lament before God and to draw the attention of all who care to what takes place far away from public knowledge or media reports.

This prayer service fits into the broader spectrum of remembrance initiatives promoted by the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME).

Your presence would be most appreciated. 

This events is organised by the Andreasgemeinde, St Andrew's Scots Church and the Jesuit Refugee Service in collaboration with Malta Emigrants' Commission and Peace Lab.

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