Why do people move? When their movement is forced, how should this be addressed? How can nations and faith-based organizations work together to mitigate the causes of forced migration and protect individuals who are forced to flee? What are the national and international legal architectures that need to be constructed to prevent a repeat of our recent failures as nations and organizations to protect and provide for migrants? What risks and rights challenges do migrants face in transit and in destination countries? What are the social costs of migration? And what is the benefit of host nations receiving migrants?
These are some of the questions to be approached by the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, to be held at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, on 22 January. This event will be available online via live streaming.
The event will be co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches, together with ACT Alliance, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
This year’s edition will focus on migration and displacement as the member nations of the UN prepare their global compacts for refugees and migrants to be presented for dialogue and adoption at the 2018 UN general assembly.
The global compacts on migration and refugees must be developed in partnership with nations and faith-based organizations like the ones co-sponsoring the event and the aid organizations of all faith groups who have connections to implement at the grassroots level.
Nearly 50% of all funding for the global migration crisis comes from faith-based organizations. This symposium will open the essential space for FBO-nation state partnerships leading to a more humane and well-crafted compact.
Although mobility, migration and displacement are currently high on policy agendas from the global level to the local, the goal of a comprehensive, human-rights-based approach to migration and displacement presents difficult challenges in the current global context.
Three years ago, faith-based ecumenical partners convened together with the UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Engagement with Faith-based Organizations with the intention of organizing an annual policy dialogue around the intersections of religion and international affairs from the perspective of human dignity and human rights. The first symposium in 2015 focused specifically on these themes. The second edition focused on the prevention of atrocity crimes and violent extremism (2016) and the third focused on just, inclusive and sustainable peace (2017). The 2018 symposium provides an opportunity to take stock of where that process is now and where it is headed.
The event is promoted in partnership with the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect on behalf of the United Nations Inter- Agency Task Force on Engagement with Faith-based Organizations, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Parliament of the World’s Religions.
Live streaming of the Symposium will be available at: http://webtv.un.org
Learn more about the Ecumenical United Nations Office (EUNO)
Housed at the Church Center for the United Nations, in New York, the EUNO plays a key role in convening and facilitating advocacy at different levels and building joint ecumenical strategies on priority issues. The work developed by the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance at the EUNO focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality and religion and development.