WCC joins campaign to protect climate refugees

By agency reporter
29 Sep 2013

As part of its work for the protection of climate refugees, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is joining an innovative campaign, 'Postcards from the Frontlines', aiming to achieve urgently needed recognition and protection for climate refugees around the world.

According to a report of the Norwegian Refugee Council, more than 31 million people were forced from their homes due to weather-related events in the year 2012 alone.

Although climate refugees are far greater in number than those fleeing conflict, they are still not recognised by any international law.

Initiated by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in collaboration with ByPost, the 'Postcards from the Frontlines' campaign allows people to send a free postcard from phone or desktop, which will arrive as a real physical postcard at the United Nations secretary-general's office in New York, calling for action on climate refugees.

The project aims to reach 100,000 postcards by Human Rights Day, 10 December, when a public response will be sought from the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

The campaign was launched officially on 24 September 2013.

Through the postcards campaign people are invited to take a photograph of themselves using the free ByPost iPhone app or website to send a real “petition” postcard to the UN Headquarters in New York asking for concrete measures protecting the climate refugees.

Protection of climate refugees will be the focus of a workshop organised by the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) and Bread for the World (BfW) Germany at the WCC’s upcoming assembly, to be held from 30 October to 8 November in Busan, Republic of Korea.

“We call on our churches, and all other partners working together with us for climate justice, to join the postcards campaign asking for visible actions towards the protection of climate refugees,” said Dr Guillermo Kerber, the WCC programme executive in the area of Care for Creation and Climate Justice.

“The WCC and its churches have on their main agenda to support the vulnerable communities facing the impact of climate change. Forced displacement because of climate change is a concern for churches, especially in regions such as the Pacific, South East Asia and Africa, as stated at two conferences organized by the WCC in collaboration with the PCC and BfW in 2010 and 2012,” added Kerber.

The report from these two conferences has been published under the title 'Climate Refugees' and will be available at the WCC assembly.

* Postcards from the Frontlines: http://vimeo.com/73387781

* Participate in the campaign – send a postcard: http://www.ejfoundation.org/postcards

[Ekk/3]

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