During our recent conference on “Welcoming the Stranger and Living as Neighbours”, faith actors found that freedom to move freely is a fundamental right and must be accompanied by safe havens. Unfortunately, everywhere, refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants experience discrimination and marginalization, affecting the enjoyment of their fundamental human rights during transit and or in host communities. They recognized that migrants are affected disproportionately, with men exploiting, harassing and violating women and girls. They noted high levels of gender-based violence and forced labour amongst migrants.
On 6th – 7th October, Faith to Action Network in collaboration with Ethiopian Interfaith Forum of Dialogue and Development (EIFDDA) and Lutheran World Federation held a 2-day international conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on “Welcoming the Stranger and Living as Neighbours.” The conference responded to the harsh global challenges arising from unsafe migration.
The conference brought together an interfaith delegation of faith actors from 5 African States namely Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe. The conference was a follow up of the international conference held in Geneva Switzerland during the Global Refugee Forum on “Welcoming the Stranger, Shaping the Future” on World Refugee Day, 20-21 June 2022.
In solidarity with the regional efforts for safe migration championed by the African Union, the faith leaders discussed and developed action plans to promote human rights with safe migration and jointly endorsed a communique which highlighted their commitment to among other things, “remaining at the front-line of defending human rights for all strangers across time and space.” The Communique was publicly aired in leading radio stations in Ethiopia and plans are under way to have it submitted to the African Union decision makers. In addition, the faith leaders developed key action plans to cascade the impacts of the conference to their communities. With the action plans, Faith to Action Network hopes to strengthen collaborations with the African Union and raise awareness of the agency of faith actor’s safe migration in Africa.
This project was supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).