Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Dr Glenn Davies has called on the Federal Government to develop a comprehensive response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

“One of the most significant characteristics of a civilised society is the way it treats those who are the most vulnerable. In our own country we have sought to address the needs of children, the intellectually or physically disabled, and the aged, all of whom suffer a disadvantage that is not common to the ordinary working Australian. However, as our world is larger than Australia, so our vision for vulnerable persons ought to be larger.” Dr Davies said.

The Archbishop calls on the government to respond to the crisis being played out by the international media.

“Our TV screens have been awash with images of desperate people fleeing the war torn areas of Syria and Iraq. While it has been pleasing to see the way in which Germany's Chancellor has responded to this humanitarian crisis with an open invitation to settle within her borders, not all countries have shown the same kind of generosity. However, the crisis is too great to be ignored - too great even for Europe to solve on its own.”

The devastating picture of three year old Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless on the beach seems symbolic of the tragedy of the region’s transitory population, if not the shame that tens of thousands of Syrians and Iraqis have been slaughtered by the advance of terrorism. Ironically it was Stalin who declared, a million deaths is a statistic, but a single death is a tragedy.”

The Archbishop wants an increase in the refugee quota from present levels, the second time he has made this call.

“I repeat my request to the Prime Minister that Australia should return to an increased refugee quota of 20,000 per annum and I ask that urgent consideration be given to this, as well as other measures Australia could take to alleviate the suffering caused by the Syrian crisis.

Premier Mike Baird is to be commended for his call for an expansion of the quota and his commitment that New South Wales stands ready to help. I also call on our churches and all Christians for urgent intercessory prayer for those who are suffering and displaced. 

Jesus himself experienced the displacement of family and home, so his followers should be welcoming of strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).” Dr Davies said.


Photo: A syrian refugee in Turkey Flickr UNDP