Having the objective “to commit ourselves to welcome and accompany the refugees, especially those who are coming from Pakistan” our Ministry for Refugees team tries their level best to cater to the needs of refugees who are present in Sri Lanka. As UNHCR reports, at the end of January, 2018 there were 634 asylum seekers in Sri Lanka from 9 countries, and among them 544 were Pakistanis. Their main intention in coming to Sri Lanka is to make the arrangement to enter into another country with the assistance of organizations like UNHCR. Our Ministry for Refugees team is in contact with nearly 70 Christian families in and around Negombo.
The functions of this team includes: becoming mediators in organizing programmes and gatherings, attending meetings organized by RAM (Refugees’ Advocates Meeting) where the future plans for refugees are discussed, looking for assistance with the help of some organizations, such as UNHCR, IOM, ZOA, for the refugees who are in contact with the team, organizing get-togethers to make the refugees mingle with each other, and providing some material assistance to the families.
There are four occasions, namely, Easter gatherings, Independence Day gatherings (Aug 15), Christmas and year-end gatherings, and International Migrants Day celebrations, which the Ministry for Refugees team make use of to nourish them spiritually, with different types of liturgical celebrations. The Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Sri Lanka is right behind the team in carrying out its ministry.