Speakers at a side event following on from the United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants in New York were unanimous in their call for faith-based organisations and religious leaders to be included in efforts to address the symptoms and root causes of forced migration and human trafficking as well as assisting with integration into host countries.
The World Council of Churches website reports the comments of Faisal Bin Muaammar, Secretary General of the International Dialogue Centre.
“Religious leaders know their communities. They have access to the people. They are trusted and respected by their communities and are already working to save and improve lives where they are most needed. Through their example and guidance, communities can combat prejudice, support integration and build peace.”
The event was organised by the United Nations along with the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID). Initiatives by religious communities working together to support refugees and migrants in their countries of origin, while in transit, as well as in their new host countries were showcased at the meeting.
The WCC’s representative to the UN, Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, stressed that “especially from a faith based perspective, from which human dignity is a key concept and commitment, we are obliged to address the entire experience”.
The WCC add:
Panellists highlighted the generosity of the Greek people, together with the Orthodox Church, in responding to the influx of over a million people fleeing conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the assistance provided by faith based organisations to refugees arriving in Italy, and to the different communities displaced by violence in Iraq.
In New York, participants called for a more cohesive and coordinated international response to the challenges of forced migration and human trafficking by policymakers, civil society and religious organizations working together to find shared solutions.
Further information can be found in WCC’s news article.