Current Issue
July, 2019
Volume 45, Number 2
12 November 2013
J.D. Conor Mauro

In this 24 October photo, Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane, known as Sister Aziza, hugs a child at the nursery school in the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter in Tel Aviv, Israel. The shelter for single mothers and pregnant women has been helping Eritrean women fleeing to Israel through Egypt. (photo: CNS/Debbie Hill)

Comboni nun works to help Eritreans tortured, raped en route to Israel (CNS) Comboni Sister Azezet Kidane is fluent in Amharic, Tigrit, Arabic and Sudanese dialects, so she was a natural choice when a shelter for African refugees needed help. It was only after the nun, known as Sister Aziza, began conducting interviews with Eritrean refugees that she realized the people she was talking to had been tortured. “It is a horror story what is happening,” she told Catholic News Service from the African Refugee Development Center’s shelter for single mothers and pregnant women in a low-income neighborhood of Tel Aviv. “Sister Aziza is a blessing for us. People feel comfortable opening up to her,” said Shahar Shoham, director of migrants and statusless people at Physicians for Human Rights Israel. “The torture continues even now. As we are speaking it is happening…”

Activist groups condemn Eritrean human rights abuses (Open Doors) The United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, Sheila Keetharuth, recently told the General Assembly that human rights abuses in Eritrea are causing “countless Eritreans” to flee the country. Eritreans, according to U.N. figures, are second only to Syria in the number of those who have fled to Italy by sea as of 30 September. A number of rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have condemned Eritrea’s human rights record. Amnesty International claims that Eritrea’s prisons are filled with “thousands of political prisoners, locked up without ever being charged with a crime, many of whom are never heard from again…”

Shelling in Damascus: children, civilians and churches affected (Fides) Mortar shells damaged the St. John Damascene Primary School yesterday in the district of Al Qassaa in Damascus, killing 5 children and wounding 27 others. Another rocket hit a school bus in Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian suburb in Damascus, injuring five students…

Syrian priest describes war of ‘all against all’ (Fides) The leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, made an official pronouncement delegitimizing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadist organization that last year had assumed a hegemonic position in the frontline of anti-Assad militias. This illustrates the growing conflicts between the factions fighting the Syrian army government, loyal to Assad. The Rev. Paul Karam, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon, commented on this turn of events. “On Syrian ground it is a war, all against all. … Who pays for all this? Only the exhausted Syrian population and, within society, the minorities who are the most vulnerable of all,” he said. “It is necessary to promote a true path of peace that does not take the form of a plan for the division of the country…”

Pope meets with Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion (Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Tuesday with Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Department of External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church. This meeting coincided with the meeting of Cardinal Angelo Scola and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Moscow…

Interreligious dialogue in the teaching of the Catholic Church (VIS) TheHoly See Press Office held a press conference to present the book “Il Dialogo Interreligioso nell’Insegnamento Ufficiale della Chiesa Cattolica (1963-2013)” (“Interreligious Dialogue in the Official Teaching of the Catholic Church, (1963-2013)”). The speakers in the conference were Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue; the Rev. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., secretary of the same dicastery; and Bishop Francesco Gioia, O.F.M., editor of the work. The aim of this third edition, which covers the papal magisterium from the Vatican Council II until Pope Benedict XVI, is to present directly to both Catholics and followers of other religions the official thought of the church…

Tags: Refugees Syrian Civil War Ecumenism Eritrea Interfaith