A refugee agency in Lebanon noted discrimination and violence against Syrian refugees rose sharply recently, with more confrontations at bakeries where refugees often have to wait for bread behind Lebanese citizens. Rawan Haddad, of Tent Schools International, said that the refugees’ situation is sometimes better than most Lebanese. Nations provide basic support and limited facilities for refugees, but Lebanese below the poverty line have no support. There are shortages of bread, flour, and medicine. People don’t make enough to buy what they need, and the government won’t help. With these concerns in mind, Lebanese officials have now announced they plan to repatriate refugees back to Syria, but the problem is that European countries will not agree to that course of action.
IJM reports, ‘Last week we celebrated justice for IJM lawyer WK, his client and their driver. Three police officers and one civilian were convicted of their murder’. Prior to 2016, few police officers had ever been convicted for murder - despite many instances of police abusing power. But in the past five years, 45 officers have been convicted on murder or manslaughter charges. This gives hope to victims and families of police abuse that justice is possible. ‘Also, praise God for the acquittal of an innocent IJM client in Kenya. He was framed for a crime he didn't commit. During the trial, the prosecution failed to produce any witnesses. He is now free, but please pray for him to be protected from further false accusations.’
Since 2000 there have been 300 churches planted across Sweden by other nations. The Nigerian Redeemed Christian Church of God has 40 Swedish church plants. Their vision is to plant worshipping communities within five minutes' distance from each other. Also from Nigeria there are church plants from Deeper Life Bible, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries. There are plants from Ghanaian Church of Pentecost where the worship language is English, Ghanaian Swahili and Swedish. Chile’s International Mission Church gathers 1,500 people for Sunday services in Stockholm. For Sweden, this is a very big church. There are also congregations with Ethiopian, Eritrean, Iranian, or Afghan connections that are generally closer to the established Swedish denominations.
Two years ago, World Missionary Press (WMP) sent 6.4 million Scripture booklets to ministry partners through a project called ‘Blessings for Brazil’. WMP freight coordinator Helen Williams says she is flooded with reports of the Holy Spirit changing hearts. ‘The feedback is overwhelming as our distributors describe new opportunities; one ministry is sending 500 boxes a time to distribution points for pastors. There are places being reached that have never been reached because of the lack of resources. Some use Scripture booklets in the inner city, others take them to remote jungle tribal villages. Optician teams use Scripture booklets for their eye test reading charts. Where literacy is marginal, teachers use the booklets to teach the language - their lesson plan is the Scripture booklet. Eight million more booklets will go out before the end of 2022.
When Archie Battersbee’s accident left him unconscious, he was put on life support treatment, but months later he had not regained consciousness and doctors said he was brain-stem dead. They planned to stop treatment. Archie's mother disagreed, wanting a ‘realistic time’ for her child to recover saying, ‘Planned death is euthanasia, which is illegal in this country. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when and how he should die.’ On 22 July we highlighted Archie’s situation and the need for law changes so that the vulnerable and their families are protected in end-of-life matters. His parents began legal proceedings to keep Archie on life support treatment, but finally on 4 August the European Court of Human Rights refused their application to delay any changes to his treatment. Continue to pray for changes to be made around hospitals' power to make life or death decisions for the vulnerable.
On 1 August almost 700 migrants crossed the English Channel in 14 small boats, a record for the year so far. The French authorities stopped one boat at sea with 35 people on board. Government figures state over 17,000 people have arrived in the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats so far in 2022. Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have both vowed to toughen controls on migration into the UK as part of their bids to become next Tory leader and prime minister. Mr Sunak said he would tighten the definition of who qualifies for asylum and introduce a cap on refugee numbers. Ms Truss said she would increase the number of Border Force staff and extend the UK's Rwanda asylum plan. However, no asylum seekers have been sent to the East African country yet following a series of legal challenges. See
On 3 August thirty police officers and immigration officials raided two properties and detained a 40-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man, both originally from Somalia, on suspicion of offences linked to people-smuggling. The pair have lived in Northern Ireland for ten years; authorities believe they are part of an operation being run by an organised crime gang transporting people into the UK. Officers also searched the addresses for cash. Immigration officials say that individuals can pay gangs between £2,500 and £15,000 to be brought into the UK, often exploiting the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland. Priti Patel said the operation showed expertly-trained officers working tirelessly to keep our country safe by disrupting suspected criminal activity. An immigration enforcement officer said this was just one of the ways they worked with the police to act against people-smuggling.
An estimated 585,000 households - 13% of everyone renting in the private market - have energy bills included in their rent. Citizens Advice said renters could miss out on the £400 energy rebate and the warm home discount if they are not the bill payer because those are paid to the landlord. The charity Shelter said tenants whose energy bills were included in their rent or service charge will be at the mercy of their landlord passing on this much-needed support, as there is no specific legal obligation for landlords to do so. They are not allowed to overcharge tenants for energy used or make a profit on it, but this could happen if they pocket the government support and continue to charge the same rate for utilities. The Government is looking into this, as it has acknowledged it is not right. Landlords can only charge for energy used, the standing charge and VAT.