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Faith-based groups speak out together on World Refugee Day

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Twenty-five faith-based organisations including Jewish, Christian, Buddhist and Muslim agencies have signed a statement reiterating their commitment to protect refugees and their rights.

The statement [below] said that, alongside their work to provide refugees with whatever they need to survive and thrive these organisations have a "special responsibility" to address xenophobia.

"It takes a world to protect children from poverty and violence," said Christo Greyling, World Vision's Senior Director for Faith and External Engagements, "but faith-based organisations have particular experience of building bridges between different communities. We also recognise the holistic needs of those forced to leave their homes, which include their spiritual needs.

Constanza Martinez, World Vision's UN representative in Geneva said that the energy and spirit of this global statement would be taken forward to December's Global Refugee Forum in Switzerland.

"The forum will be the place where many member states and other actors make concrete commitments to act on behalf of refugees," she said. "Today's statement, also celebrated by our partner UNHCR, affirms the faith community's willingness to be partner with those who also want to deliver the promise of the Global Compact on Refugees."

This statement is the latest collaboration by some of those organisations who attended the Faith Action for Children on the Move Forum last October.

The purpose of the forum was to engage religious and faith-based organisations, communities and children to dialogue on issues facing Children on the Move. The forum also worked to build consensus and develop a high-level action plan around the three main themes:

  1. Spiritual support for children and their caregivers to promote healing and resilience

  2. Creating a continuum of protection for children on the move

  3. Building peaceful societies, opposing xenophobia, racism, and discrimination



Faith actors call for Global Solidarity

The diversity of origins and traditions which make humanity unique are being targeted by intolerance, sometimes by brutal violence, and refugees are often on the front line of this assault. Reinforcing the traditional role of faith communities in offering sanctuary to refugees, more than 25 faith-based actors express their further commitment to upholding the dignity of refugees through offering effective protection, access to social services and fulfilment of human rights and enhancing peacebuilding efforts. Based on their religious teachings, as well as on the experience that some of their communities have of being targeted themselves, faith-based actors seek to address xenophobia as one of their special responsibilities.

The Global Compact on Refugees specifically recognizes the contribution and long-standing experience of faith-based actors in supporting refugees and will highlight these contributions at the Global Refugee Forum. Whether supporting refugees, including children, on their journey to safety including in reception and admission, meeting protection or service delivery needs and supporting communities to find solutions such as private sponsorship programmes, faith-based actors are committed to working alongside states and the rest of the global humanitarian community to deliver the promise of the Global Compact on Refugees.

This statement is supported by:

  1. ACT Alliance
  2. Adventist Development and Relief Agency ADRA
  3. American Jewish World Service
  4. Anglican Alliance
  5. Anglican Communion
  6. Caritas Internationalis
  7. Christian Aid
  8. Church World Service
  9. EU-CORD
  10. Food for the Hungry
  11. Global One
  12. Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society
  13. International Catholic Migration Commission
  14. Islamic Relief Worldwide
  15. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA
  16. Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities
  17. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
  18. Network for Dialogue
  19. Religions for Peace
  20. Soka Gakkai International
  21. Tearfund
  22. World Council of Churches
  23. World Evangelical Alliance
  24. World Relief
  25. World Vision International