The JLI Refugee Hub with Members submitted recommendations to the Global Compact on Refugees Consultation formal consultation process to advocate for working with local faith actors in a more coherent, joined up, and efficient response to benefit refugees.
The JLI also worked in collaboration with UNHCR and University College London to develop five case studies on faith-based good practice in Honduras, Mexico, Uganda, Lebanon, and Germany. See the good practice portal here.
JLI is a partner in the Faith Action for Children on the Move Coalition. In 2018, the Global Partners Forum provides a platform to bring together a diverse group of faith-based organisations. Partners will reflect on their respective contributions to end violence against children as it relates to children on the move (children or young people and their families who are forcibly displaced internally or refugees). The consortium continues work through a joint action plan.
Religions for Peace worked with the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities to devise a guide to action for religious leaders and faith communities. This guide includes introductory information on global responses to refugees and migrants, reflections on religious imperatives to welcome the stranger, and a set of guidelines to help religious leaders and communities respond to refugees and migrants as well as coordinate with other actors.
An estimated 3.5% of the world’s population is on the move, whether migrating voluntarily or because they are forced to. Migration can expose people, especially women and children, to dangers and/or to the loss of fundamental rights, as in the case of stateless people. To enhance protection for people on the move, the international community has committed to two Global Compacts – one on Migration and one on Refugees. Current efforts to improve responses to people on the move include preventing conflict and fostering peaceful societies, increasing preparedness, focusing on long-term solutions to displacement, localizing assistance to migrants and refugees, addressing xenophobia, and fostering an inclusive and plural approach. Faith actors, encompassing a variety of individuals, groups, and organizations – including but not limited to local faith communities, religious leaders, and local, national, and international faith-based organizations – are key contributors to these efforts.
Religious leaders and faith communities play a multitude of roles in responses to refugees and migrants around the world. They provide material and spiritual support, including shelter in religious buildings; safe spaces for people with specific needs; access to healthcare and education; and help in integration processes. They can also advocate for migrants’ and refugees’ rights and the expansion of protection, effectively help combat xenophobia and prevent conflict, and promote reconciliation and peacebuilding so that people can safely return home.
The guidelines presented here encourage engagement from faith actors, such as providing services for refugees and migrants, representing their faith communities and teachings to foster safe spaces, and facilitating pastoral support for refugees and migrants within their own faith communities. They also help faith actors understand how to partner with other actors, for example by working with the principles of unconditional assistance and non-discrimination, as well as navigating complex partnership procedures. Finally, the guidelines outline the role of faith actors in providing durable solutions for refugees and migrants, including peacebuilding, addressing xenophobia and fear within their own communities, providing leadership and modelling love for strangers both within faith communities and for the wider public, building interfaith collaboration, protecting those who are persecuted – including those of other faiths and values – and creating safe and welcoming environments for those integrating into new homes.
Project Lead: Dr. Olivia Wilkinson
Contributors: Susanna Trotta, Atallah FitzGibbon, Dr. Ganoune Diop, and Maya Casagrande
Reviewers: Jean Duff, Stein Vilumstad, Mary Rose O’Brien, Majbritt Lyck-Bowen
Suggested Citation: Wilkinson, Olivia, Susanna Trotta, Atallah FitzGibbon, Ganoune Diop, and Maya Casagrande. Guide to Action on Mobilizing Faith Communities to Welcome Migrants and Refugees. Report. New York, NY: Religions for Peace, 2019.
For millions of refugee girls, education is out of reach. Despite substantial increases in access to girls’ education around the world over the last two decades, refugee girls remain left behind.
In countries affected by conflict, girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys. Girls make up half of the 7.4 million school-age refugees, yet face disproportionate challenges in accessing and sustaining their education. Among all refugee children, only 61 percent are enrolled in primary school and 23 percent are enrolled in secondary school. Notably, refugee girls are only half as likely to be enrolled in secondary school as boys.
Limited access to education further perpetuates the challenges and vulnerabilities that displaced girls face. The isolation of being out of school can harm girls who’ve experienced trauma during their displacement as they may be more vulnerable to trafficking or early marriage. Without school, refugee girls may find it more difficult to heal, build hope, and find safety.
The benefits of investing in education for all girls – including refugees and those who are forcibly displaced – transcends the individual. If refugee girls have access to an education, their families and communities are more likely to improve their social and economic position. The further girls progress with their schooling, the more they develop leadership skills, become income generators, and build self-reliance. These are personal qualities that will help their communities flourish as they strive to adapt to their host countries or as they prepare to return to their home countries.
Afin de maximiser les opportunités considérables qu’offre le Pacte mondial sur les réfugiés (PMR), la communauté internationale doit reconnaître l’expérience et les capacités des acteurs confessionnels et lever les obstacles qui se posent aux partenariats avec ces acteurs afin d’être en mesure de fournir une réponse plus efficace, durable et globale. Le PMR reconnaît que « les acteurs confessionnels pourraient contribuer à la planification et à la mise en oeuvre des arrangements pour assister les réfugiés et les communautés d’accueil, notamment en matière de prévention des conflits, de réconciliation et de consolidation de la paix, ainsi que dans d’autres domaines pertinents ». Le rôle critique et global que jouent les acteurs confessionnels, ainsi que leur potentiel pour une prestation de services efficace méritent une analyse plus complète et nuancée.
Cette note politique produit plusieurs recommandations fondées sur les rôles multiples que la foi et les acteurs confessionnels jouent aux différentes étapes et lieux du déplacement forcé. Cette note est en accord avec la section « Arrangements pour le partage de la charge et des responsabilités » du PMR et ses trois points de la sous-section « Domaines nécessitant de l’appui » :« Accueil et admission », «Satisfaire les besoins et soutenir les communautés » et finalement « Solutions ».
من اجل تحقيق الحد الاقصى من الفرص المهمة التي تقدمها الاتفاقية الدولية بشأن اللاجئين يجب على المجتمع الدولي ، ان يعترف بتجربة وقدرات الجهات الفاعلة العقائدية وكسر الحواجز القائمة امام الشراكات لتمكين استجابه دائمة وفعالة وأكثر شمولية . وبينما تقر الاتفاقية الدولية بشأن اللاجئين، “انه يمكن للجهات الفاعلة العقائدية دعم التخطيط وتقديم الاجرءات لمساعدة اللاجئين والمجتمعات المضيفة, بما في ذلك في مجالات منع النزاع / والمصالحة/ وبناء السلام وغيرها من المجالات ذات الصلة”. فإن دور الجهات الفاعلة العقائدية الحاسم و الشامل – فضلاً عن قدرتها على تقديم الخدمات بكفاءه – يجعل من المسوغ اجراء فحصا اكثر اكتمالاً ودقة
يقدم ملخص السياسة هذا مجموعة من التوصيات قائمة على الدليل المتعلق بالأدوار المتعددة التي تلعبها العقيدة و الجهات الفاعلة العقائدية عبر مختلف مراحل وأماكن التهجير القسري. ان هذا الملخص يتماشى مع اقسام الاتفاقية الدولية بشأن اللاجئين فيما يخص ترتيبات المشاركة بتحمل الاعباء والمسؤولية ومجالاتها الثلاثة التي تحتاج للدعم: الاستقبال والقبول, تلبية الاحتياجات ودعم المجتمعات, والحلول
This targeted resource brief provides a selection of works published by academics, NGOs, and faith actors (FAs) on the role that faith plays in contexts of forced displacement. The resources are grouped into the three main areas in need of support as outlined by the Global Compact on Refugees.
Within each area, subheadings and keywords are meant to facilitate access to resources on specific topics. This resources brief supports the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities’ accompanying policy brief on faith actors and the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees.
To maximize the significant opportunities presented by the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), the international community must recognize the experience and capabilities of faith actors (FAs) and break down existing barriers to partnerships to enable a more comprehensive, effective, and durable response.
While the GCR does acknowledge that: “Faith-based actors could support the planning and delivery of arrangements to assist refugees and host communities, including in the areas of conflict prevention, reconciliation, and peacebuilding, as well as other relevant areas,” the critical and comprehensive role that FAs play – as well as their potential for efficient service delivery – warrants a fuller and more nuanced examination.
This policy brief provides a set of recommendations based on evidence concerning the multiple roles that faith and faith actors play across different stages and spaces of forced displacement. The brief is aligned with the GCR’s sections on Arrangements for Burden- and Responsibility-sharing and its three Areas in Need of Support (Reception and Admission, Meeting Needs and Supporting Communities, and Solutions)
The predicament of refugees is a common concern of humankind. Refugee situations have increased in scope, scale and complexity and refugees require protection, assistance and solutions. Millions of refugees live in protracted situations, often in low- and middle income countries facing their own economic and development challenges, and the average length of stay has continued to grow. Despite the tremendous generosity of host countries and donors, including unprecedented levels of humanitarian funding, the gap between needs and humanitarian funding has also widened. There is an urgent need for more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees, while taking account of existing contributions and the differing capacities and resources among States. Refugees and host communities should not be left behind.
As faith-based organizations working with refugee communities across the globe, ACT Alliance, Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Islamic Relief recognize the important role that the GCR can play in building the political will to address the needs of refugees and improving current response mechanisms that can no longer support these needs. We are particularly interested in ensuring that the GCR is fully implemented, funded and monitored as it has the potential to mobilize greater action and transform the lives of refugees and host communities.
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.
• 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.
There is a growing interest within academic and policy circles surrounding the roles played by local faith communities (LFCs) and faith based organisations (FBOs) in responding to displacement.i This trend contrasts with some of the significant negative and secular assumptions that typically frame mainstream humanitarian engagements with faith groups.
For example, humanitarian responses to displacement have been critiqued for their reliance on secular frameworks that too often mistrust faith and religion, seeing them as a problem to be solved rather than as an opportunity to improve and enhance refugee protection.
These assumptions typically stem from a lack of effective knowledge about the ‘interface of governmental, intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations with local faith communities in the course of humanitarian responses,’ii and they often emphasise the ‘traditionalist’ and ‘conservative’ nature of religion in contrast to the more ‘progressive’ social and political approach taken by humanitarian actors toward, for example, human rights and women’s rights.iii Understanding and exploring these assumptions is a key priority for the authors’ ongoing research into local community responses to and experiences of displacement from Syria in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. As part of our AHRC-ESRC funded Refugee Hosts (www.refugeehosts.org) research project, we have been investigating how faith both explicitly and implicitly informs the ways in which people displaced from Syria are hosted by local communities. Based on our research to date in Lebanon and Jordan, we argue that the role that faith plays in times of displacement is far more complicated than the secular assumptions highlighted above might suggest.
In particular, by approaching faith through a focus on everyday dynamics can we begin to identify the diverse faith-based values that inform the nature of assistance offered to refugees by local hosting communities. Similarly, becoming more attuned to these dynamics may also enable international humanitarian organisations to develop a better understanding of the challenges that exist at the local level, such as the proliferation of exclusionary or sectarian practices, whilst simultaneously reflecting on the theological and ethical traditions that in turn guide ‘secular’ humanitarian work.
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.
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
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.
Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees Policy brief summarises key points and recommendations for policy, practise and research emerging from debate and discussion that took place at the workshop- 13th May 2016
It is a time for open and equal dialogue between organisation –FBO and secular orgs to build meaningful operations partnerships that are based on solidarity, cooperation and integrations
Faith is commonly viewed as a problem or a solution in displaced situations. Religion itself does not have agency, but people who act on the basis of the different beliefs, identities and interpretation of religious principles are the agents. FBOs and LFCs should be recognised and approached as actors who play a diverse role in the different complicated solutions.
Published: 2016Author:Edited by Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Authored by Sharifa Abdulaziz, Omayma El Ella, Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Ellen Hansen, Elisabet Le Roux, Marie-Claude Poirier, José Riera-Cézanne, Helen Stawski, Olivia Wilkinson and Erin K. Wilson