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Aid to the Church in Need wins peace award from Pope's ambassador to UN

by Cara Bentley

The award is given annually in recognition of a commitment to the development of peace and will come from the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, a Filipino Roman Catholic and President of the Path to Peace Foundation, who support the Vatican's diplomatic work at the UN and fund humanitarian projects.

Previous winners of the award include former Secretary Generals of the UN, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, former President of Poland Lech Walesa and other heads of state.

ACN were said to be chosen for their emergency and pastoral aid for Christians suffering oppression and discrimination.

The national director of Aid to the Church in Need in the UK, Neville Kyrke-Smith, said: "Such a recognition is both a compliment and a challenge to Aid to the Church in Need. The compliment is to the individual faithful benefactors of ACN who have sustained the Easter hope of the resurrection during the long Good Friday of appalling suffering, in particular in the Middle East.

"The challenge is now for ACN and other charities to empower the local Christian communities to renew their presence and bring a true pathway to peace."

Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, the executive president of ACN International, will be presented with the award in New York on 22nd May.

ACN work with Syrian refugees, Christians persecuted in Pakistan and Iraq and also started the 'Red Wednesday' initiative of lighting famous buildings in red, including the Houses of Parliament, to highlight the treatment of Christians globally.

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