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Faith-based organizations can help solve problems of forced migration

The UN along with the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Religion and Development, the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) organized a landmark summit in Fall of 2016 on Refugees and Migrants and the Leaders.

World Council of Churches is one of the ecumenical partners supported by the Interdenominational Cooperation Fund.

Faith-based organizations and religious leaders must be included in efforts to address the challenges of human trafficking and forced migration, representatives of the United Nations, international organizations, Member States and civil society have said.

"In many cases, migrants and refugees are seeking to escape situations of violence and grave human rights violations that in some cases may amount to atrocity crimes, by which I mean genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity", stated Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.

"If we are to prevent these situations and provide the kind of targeted assistance that would allow people to live fulfilled lives in peace and security, we need to focus our efforts on strategies designed to help to build national resilience.

"At the same time, we need to make sure that those who decide to migrate and seek refuge in other countries can do so safely.  Host countries must respect their obligations under international human rights and refugee law."

Speakers were unanimous in their call for religious leaders to be included in addressing not only the symptoms, but also the root causes of forced migration and human trafficking, from the point of departure, to assisting with integration into their host countries at the points of destination.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, the WCC Representative to the United Nations, 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."

Successful 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 presented at the meeting.

The event highlighted the unique vulnerability of women in this crisis: armed groups often view women as commodities to be traded or trafficked, and in many cases, smugglers and traffickers are described as using sex as a currency for access to migration routes.

The meeting was organized by the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the International Dialogue Center and the WCC, in cooperation with the Governments of Italy and Spain, the Institute for Strategic Studies and Democracy (ISSD) of Malta and the Partnership for Religion and Development (PaRD).

World Council of Churches website

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