JRS joins multi-faith call for refugee protection

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Refugees longed for the world outside Detention’s bar

Geneva, 10 July 2013 – The Jesuit Refugee Service joined together with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and representatives of a number of faith-based organisations to call for greater protection for refugees.

The multilingual, 16-page declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based organisations.

It was prepared by an inter-religious group, convened by the High Commissioner for Refugees at the conclusion of his Dialogue on Faith and Protection in December 2012. The Affirmation of Welcome sets out principles to guide faith leaders in providing welcoming environments for refugees and other displaced persons, as well as those without citizenship, through promoting community understanding and tolerance, and combating xenophobia.

The text draws upon principles and values of welcome shared across a multitude of religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

A letter published by a number of the Catholic signatory institutions, including Jesuit Refugee Service, the Permanent Mission of the Holy See in Geneva, Caritas Internationalis and the International Catholic Migration Commission states,

“We see this as a necessary document that calls for steps to be taken to combat xenophobia (outright attacks for example) or dehumanization (references to illegals for example) of forcibly displaced people. Certainly the sharing of this document provides an opportunity for bishops, pastors, principals and administrators of Catholic institutions that welcoming the stranger is a moral duty, for themselves and the entire community of faith”.

In November of this year, the declaration will be launched formally at the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna, in a conference organised by Religions for Peace bringing together over 400 faith leaders from around the world.

Other organisations that have been involved include the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Caritas Internationalis, the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, the University of Vienna Faculty of Roman Catholic Theology, the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance and World Vision International.

Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders (398)

 

Joint letter by a number of the Catholic signatory institutions (348)

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