Representatives of Immigration New Zealand have met with the nation’s Assyrian Church of the East clergy in a show of commitment to resolving the ongoing issue of displaced Christian families in the Middle East.
In attendance on behalf of the Minister of Immigration Jonathan Coleman were: Andrew Lockhart, Immigration National Manager of the Refugee Division; Jan Jeffery, Refugee Qouta Branch Manager; and Jamal Moradi, Branch Officer.
The meeting was requested by the Assyrian Church of the East, which was represented by Reverend Toma Toma, of St Mary’s Parish in Auckland and St Odisho’s Parish in Wellington, and Deacon Riadh Dinkha.
Deacon Riadh said the meeting’s purpose was to ask the New Zealand Government for its assistance in helping displaced Christians forced to live in refugee camps in Syria and Jordan.
The Church prays that Immigration New Zealand will consider displaced Christians for resettlement in New Zealand, where they are able to reunite with their family members already living in New Zealand.
For their part, Immigration New Zealand’s officials acknowledged and expressed their regret towards terrorist attacks against Christians in the Middle East, such as the massacre at Our Lady of Salvation Church, Baghdad, in October 2010 which resulted in the loss of more than 60 innocent lives.
The officials reassured the Church that they will provide their assistance in reuniting displaced Christian families, and recounted the many sad stories they have heard about Christians suffering in Iraq.[nggallery id=114]