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Monday, December 28, 2009

"There was no room for them at the inn"

Someone sent me some information on the World refugee population that is connected with the famous line in the Christmas story, "for there was no room for them at the inn" This is from Luke's Gospel.

Matthew tells us that the Holy Family had to flee into Egypt as Herod was searching for the Child to destroy him. That made the Holy Family "refugees" in the legal sense defined by a 1951 UN Convention: that is, men, women and children who have crossed a national border "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, are outside the country of nationality, and unable to, or owing to such fear are unwilling to" return home.

There are 10.5 million people in our world today who are refugees! There are 26 million people who are "internally displaced", meaning that they have fled or been forced to leave their homes to avoid persecution, but as they remain in their own countries are not technically "refugees" with the largest populations in Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Congo and Colombia.

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