International Migrants Day / An Iraqi family welcomed in Vallon Pont d'Arc

Today, December 18 is celebrated the International Day of Migrants. It is an opportunity, throughout the world, to reaffirm and promote the rights of migrants. On this occasion, we tell you about the reception of a refugee family from Iraq in Vallon Pont d'Arc, in southern Ardèche. This reception was organized by an Entraide Réfugiés collective in relation with the Federation of Protestant Mutual Aid.

LOn December 18, 1990, a convention concerning migrants was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. In this convention for the protection of the rights of all migrants, with or without papers, fundamental rights are reaffirmed by "considering the situation of vulnerability in which migrant workers and members of their families frequently find themselves". All countries have not yet ratified this convention and the UN decided four years ago to establish a World Migrants Day to draw attention to this convention.

On December 12, 2015, a family of refugees from Iraq arrived in Vallon Pont d'Arc. This is the culmination of the steps taken by the Protestant parishes of Aubenas-Vals and Pont d'Arc, which made the Vallon Pont d'Arc presbytery available and have become attached to the refugee service of the Protestant Mutual Aid Federation. An Entraide Refugiés collective has been set up with other local associations to prepare for the reception of this family.

Yesterday the collective met and it was the opportunity to present to everyone the Iraqi family made up of parents (39 and 42 years old) and three children. They lived in Qaraqosh in northern Iraq. They worked him as a restaurateur-painter-decorator and had a café bar in the evening. She was a hairdresser and makeup artist and supplemented her work with sewing work and the sale of cakes. Workers like you and me who do whatever it takes to support our family. Like other Christian families they had to flee their homes, their city when it fell into the hands of ISIS jihadists.

Refugees first in Mosul, they joined a refugee camp in Erbil where they had been for a year. With the help of the correspondent of the Fédération d'Entraide Protestante, they were able to take the necessary steps and obtain their pass to come to France. So this Thursday, December 17, each member of the Entraide Réfugiés collective was able to get to know Sinaï, Nadjat and their three children aged four, six and ten.

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The mayor of Vallon Pont d'Arc Pierre Peschier, present at this meeting, appreciates all the outpouring of solidarity and is also committed to the collective: “what you have put in place to welcome this family of refugees is a great experience. that will enrich us all. He recalled the history of the refugees who came to Vallon Pont d'Arc or in southern Ardèche during the Second World War, which had created strong bonds of friendship. After the war, the Belgians returned and then settled in this beautiful region. He also noted that the reception of these three children in schools will also allow the children of Vallon Pont d'Arc to open up "used to having everything, to understand that it is a privilege that we can enjoy" while these families in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere must flee the war.

A great outpouring of solidarity which has led Vallon Pont d'Arc to consider welcoming, under these conditions which honor our humanity, a second family. What if the villages of Ardèche became host towns like the Italian village of Calabria, Riace?

Nathanael Bechdolff

Also read:
Declaration of the Protestant Federation of France concerning the reception of refugees
From Universalism in the Bible to Welcoming the Stranger. Of the Urgency to be a witness.
Migrants: Between naivety and mistrust, how to find the balance?
RIACE, an Italian village becomes a place of reception for refugees

See also:
Protestant Mutual Aid Federation: Appeal for solidarity in favor of refugees: One year already!
International Migrants Day

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