WCC to co-host public event at UN on migration and displacement

By agency reporter
January 22, 2018

Why do people move? When their movement is forced, how should this be addressed?  How can nations and faith-based organisations work together to mitigate the causes of forced migration and protect individuals who are forced to flee?  What are the national and international legal architectures that need to be constructed to prevent a repeat of our recent failures as nations and organizations to protect and provide for migrants? What risks and rights challenges do migrants face in transit and in destination countries? What are the social costs of migration?  And what is the benefit of host nations receiving migrants?

These are some of the questions to be approached by the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, to be held at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, on 22 January 2018.

The event will be co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches, together with ACT Alliance, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

This year’s edition will focus on migration and displacement as the member nations of the UN prepare their global compacts for refugees and migrants to be presented for dialogue and adoption at the 2018 UN general assembly.

The global compacts on migration and refugees must be developed in partnership with nations and faith-based organisations like the ones co-sponsoring the event and the aid organisations of all faith groups who have connections to implement at the grassroots level, says the WCC.

Nearly 50 per cent of all funding for the global migration crisis comes from faith-based organisations. This symposium will open the essential space for FBO-nation state partnerships, leading to a more humane and well-crafted compact.

Although mobility, migration and displacement are currently high on policy agendas from the global level to the local, the goal of a comprehensive, human-rights-based approach to migration and displacement presents difficult challenges in the current global context.

Three years ago, faith-based ecumenical partners convened together with the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Engagement with Faith-based Organisations with the intention of organising an annual policy dialogue around the intersections of religion and international affairs from the perspective of human dignity and human rights. The first symposium in 2015 focused specifically on these themes. The second edition focused on the prevention of atrocity crimes and violent extremism (2016) and the third focused on just, inclusive and sustainable peace (2017). The 2018 symposium provides an opportunity to take stock of where that process is now and where it is headed.

The event is promoted in partnership with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Engagement with Faith-based Organisations, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Parliament of the World’s Religions.

* The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church.

* World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/en

[Ekk/4]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.