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.