• Daniel Endres, Director of the Division of Resilience and Solutions UNHCR
• Ojot Ojulu, Assistant General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
• Alastair Ager, Director, Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University
• Ann Reggie Jaj, Islamic Relief Kenya
• Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University College London, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities (JLI), Refugee Hub co-chair
Moderator: Michael French, LWF
The vast majority of people lay claim to some form of faith or religion, and they do not leave it behind in a humanitarian crisis. Taking people’s faith identity seriously in shaping humanitarian response is simply part of a people-centered approach.
How do we address this without threatening humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality ?
How can humanitarians (regardless of faith, ideology, or whatever) become ‘faith-sensitive’ ?
How can we engage with faith communities and faith actors in response ?
This requires the insights of all humanitarian actors, non-faith as well as faith-based.
Several US and international migration and refugee focused organizations have recently issued a statement on the global compacts to present a framework for ongoing dialogue with policymakers and other government officials.
The Role of Local Faith Communities in Refugee Response
Resources for refugee response are increasingly squeezed as the number of displaced people around the world grows. Yet within local communities there are already strong bases of diverse human, cultural (including spiritual), and social capital that support refugees through efforts that include provision of food, shelter, and protection. When working with faith communities for refugee response, we build on existing local infrastructure and capital that would be near impossible to recreate. Working with local faith actors leads to a more coherent, joined up, and efficient response that is of direct benefit to refugees.
See below for full recommendation. For more information, please contact JLI Director of Research, Dr. Olivia Wilkinson ([email protected])
Lutheran World Federation- UNHCR Thematic Discussion on the Global Compact, Nov 2017
Insights from the inter-agency project to provide ‘faith-sensitive’ guidance to the humanitarian sector through the tool ‘A Faith-sensitive Approach in Humanitarian Response: Guidance on Mental Health and Psychosocial Programming’ allowed a contribution as expert panellist. Above all, the approach emphasizes that we engage with faith and faith identity as part of a people-centred approach, noting that the vast majority of those affected by humanitarian crisis lay claim to some form of faith or faith identity. This may then lead secondarily onto engaging with faith actors in order better to serve people. However, the challenge is not about faith actors commending themselves, but about all humanitarians – of any creed, religion or whatever – putting people first.
General Remarks by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito Auza Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
First round of the intergovernmental negotiations on the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: Preamble, Vision and Guiding Principles
This booklet from Jesuit Refugee Service presents teaching, reflections and guidance of Pope Francis regarding migrants and refugees. It contains a Message from Pope Francis and twenty action priorities in two versions. One is meant for active
pastoral engagement with migrants and refugees. The other expanded presentation is for use in advocacy and negotiation with national governments to influence the Global Compacts on Migrants and on Refugees currently being developed.
JLI Scoping Study On Local Faith Communities In Urban Displacement:
Evidence on Localisation and Urbanisation
Refugees & Forced Migration Learning Hub
By Olivia Wilkinson & Joey Ager
The aim of this report is to highlight evidence regarding the roles and impact that Local Faith Communities (LFCs) play in relation to urban refugees, with the aim of informing interconnected conversations around localisation and urbanisation.
The international community is increasingly committed to supporting local responses to displacement, at a time when the humanitarian system is overburdened, underfunded and in flux as the world reportedly faces the highest levels of displacement ever recorded – over 65 million people in 2017, who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, violence, and persecution. In 2016 the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) resulted in the Charter for Change and a renewed call for meaningful support for the ‘localisation of humanitarian aid’ agenda. In part building on the UNHCR’s work following the High Commissioner’s Dialogue on Faith and Protection in December 2012, this includes recognition of the actual and potential roles of LFCs in offering protection, solidarity and assistance to displaced people throughout different stages and spaces of their journeys.
This evidence is therefore centrally relevant to two key debates in contemporary humanitarian policy and practice – localisation and urbanisation – whose outcomes will have a signifcant impact on the future of refugee protection.
The declaration, known as an Affirmation of Welcome, is the first to involve UNHCR and a spectrum of faith-based groups. It sets out principles to guide faith leaders in providing welcoming environments for refugees and displaced people, and those without citizenship, including through promoting community understanding and tolerance, and combatting xenophobia.
The idea for a joint declaration emerged from a meeting hosted by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres in Geneva in December 2012 with religious leaders and faith-based NGOs.
Taking place between February and April of this year, drafting of the Affirmation involved a coalition of leading faith-based organizations and academic institutions. The text draws upon principles and values of welcome shared by religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.