Churches seek coordinated global response to migration needs

By staff writers
July 6, 2007

Representatives of churches, church-related organisations and ecumenical bodies associated with the World Council of Churches (WCC) from Africa, Europe and the Middle East are gathering in Brussels from 6-9 July 2007 for a major meeting on migration in and between these regions.

The participants from sending and receiving regions are focussing on the issue of removals from Europe, coordinating advocacy work directed towards the European Union and the African Union, and developing advocacy strategies to be implemented in the regions with a particular emphasis on "being church together".

Current migration streams across the Mediterranean region particularly affect Africa, Europe and the Middle East and have a strong impact on the contexts in which churches live. Therefore the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) have joint forces building a regional network on migration.

For the WCC and its partners, migration in today's globalized world raises questions about the issue's correlation with development, remittances, regional and inter-regional mobility, removals and readmission agreements as well as refugee protection and resettlement.

WCC Regional Networks Meeting provides a platform for the partners to identify the connections between migration and its effects on the changing ecclesial landscape. It offers a chance for wider participation both from Eastern and Western Europe.

The July gathering is hosted by the Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe. The Christian Conference of Asia attends in an observer status. Discussions will build on decisions made at the WCC Global Ecumenical Network on Migration conference held in Nairobi, 6-8 June 2007.

The meeting ends on Monday 9 July, with participants joining the Civil Society Dialogue on Migration and Development, an event organised by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation. It brings together a broad range of non-governmental actors to discuss the migration and development nexus and give input to the inter-governmental Global Forum on International Migration and Development, 10-11 July 2007.

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