On Thursday, December 10 from 12:30- 13:30, the UN Commemoration Day for Human Rights, a day of reflection will be held in The Hague to remember the tens of thousands of people who have died unnecessarily while attempting to reach freedom in Europe. Policymakers will be called upon to implement a humane refugee policy in the Netherlands and in Europe.

This year the commemoration will be held on the Plein near the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) to insure adequate space for people to meet while complying with social distancing requirements.  The event is co-organized by Cordaid and the Haagse Gemeenschap van Kerken (The Hague Community of Churches).  Several members of our parish are involved in the organization of the event and Fr. Sjaak will be one of the presenting speakers.  This year people will need to receive an invitation in order to attend so that the number of attendees can be controlled.   Many hands will be needed to set things up and to to ensure the public safety of visitors, so if you are interested in volunteering, please contact Saki via the Parish Office. 

The painting of Madonna del Mare Nostrum (see below) from the Bethel community and church house will be visible on this special day. The thermal blankets worn in this painting will also be worn by the participants who will walk one by one to the Hofvijver to throw flowers there.


The program was moderated by Henk Baars from Haags Vredes Initiatief (Peace Initiative of The Hague). Eiman Seifo and his mother Sumai Yahya, a mother and son who fled Syria shared the story of their flight to safety. Musical intermezzo was provided by IIyas Nadjafa, an Afghan singer of Persian mini-mystical songs. This was followed by the story of Hamid, a refugee from Iran. Joel Voordewind, a member of the Parliament for the Christian Union was unable to attend but our very own Fr. Sjaak had the final speech to round up the moving event which was live streamed via the Cordaid website.

Painting of Madonna del Mare Nostrum