Kenya Closing Refugee Camp
The government of Kenya has stated that it plans to close the world’s largest refugee camp this year. The camp is home to 330,000 refugees, who are mostly fleeing Somalia’s wars, famine, and droughts. The country may also close the rest of its refugee camps, a move that would increase the number of displaced refugees to 600,000. Kenya cites security concerns following a range of terrorist attacks committed by the Somalia-based group al-Shabaab. Human rights and aid groups are denouncing the plan as “dangerous, illegal, and impractical.” The United Nations states that there is no precedent to forcibly repatriate such a large number of people and predicts devastating results.
God, we pray for the people who now call Kenya’s refugee camps home. We pray for their protection, asking that you will provide a glimmer of hope. We pray for Kenya’s leaders to find another way to address their fears of violence.
Police Reform in Honduras
An investigation into police corruption has led to the removal or suspension of dozens of national- and mid-level police officials in Honduras. Last month a commission was formed after documents surfaced naming two dozen police officers, from high-ranking officials to lower-level officers, in the planning and assassinations of two top officials working to fight drug trafficking. The Association for a More Just Society’s Omar Rivera is serving on the commission leading the effort to reform policing in the country—the commission has recently been receiving death threats.
Lord, for those who put their lives on the line as they seek justice, we lift our prayers of thanks, our prayers for protection, and our prayers for their success. We pray that their courage might bring hope to people marginalized by violence and corruption in Honduras. We pray that it might be a testament to your love, hope, and justice.
Damaging Aid to Haiti
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that it will ship a surplus of peanuts from the U.S. to school children in Haiti. Although Haiti is experiencing a drought and many children suffer from malnutrition, Haiti already produces a large amount of peanuts. Peanuts are drought resistant and sustain the incomes of many Haitians, especially women. This USDA initiative would benefit peanut producers in the U.S. but harm small farmers in Haiti. This sort of damaging aid is reminiscent of devastating U.S. interventions into Haitian agriculture in the 1980s and ’90s.
God, may we learn from our mistakes. May we be humble and look to others’ interests before our own. May Haitian farmers be protected from the consequences of this decision. We pray for the children of Haiti who have known such suffering and poverty—we pray for a change in the policies that have victimized them, so that they might have hope and a future.
Political Turmoil in Brazil
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been suspended and is facing an impeachment trial after a Senate vote late last night. She is accused of manipulating the budget to disguise Brazil’s deficit. According to analysts, her tax maneuvering was unprecedented in scale. Vice President Michel Temer would succeed her; however, he too may be implicated in corruption surrounding the budget. Brazil is currently experiencing its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
God, we pray for all who are most affected by corruption like this—people who are poor, children, women, persons with disabilities, and those who are ill. We pray for leaders all over the world who have been given so much opportunity to change lives for the better. We pray for truth and accountability and restoration for Brazil.
Fire in Alberta
Over 80,000 people have been evacuated from Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada following a disastrous wildfire. The Canadian Red Cross has just announced that it will transfer $50 million to the evacuees, the largest and fastest transfer in the organization’s history. The government of Alberta is also offering a large amount of assistance. Many connect natural disasters like this to climate change, and fear they are becoming more common.
We think especially of our CRC family in Alberta as we pray for those displaced by this fire. We lift prayers for continued courage, for protection of livelihoods, and for the grief of the displaced. May this event help us connect even more with people around the world who know what it is like to be displaced by disaster. For those who cannot find safety, who are not able to rebuild, for whom one disaster changes the course of their life, we lift our prayers. Our lives a