WEA supports UN 'affirmations' to protect refugees

The World Evangelical Alliance is encouraging churches to embrace a set of 'affirmations' from the United Nations to protect refugees.

"Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders" was developed at the initiation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with faith-based humanitarian organisations and academic institutions.

In addition to the WEA, these included Islamic Relief, the World Council of Churches and World Vision.

The affirmations confirm that welcoming the stranger and seeking their protection and welfare is deeply rooted in all major religions, including Christianity.

Versions of the affirmations have been produced in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, and Hebrew.

Tom Albinson, WEA Ambassador for Refugees, Displaced and Stateless People, said the affirmations would be a helpful tool for churches and Christian humanitarian agencies in promoting the welfare and protection of forcibly displaced people around the world.

"The spirit of the affirmations reflects the divine expectation of God's people found in Scripture (e.g. Isaiah 58:6-11, Matthew 25:31-40)," he said.

"It is my hope that Christians around the world will embrace and promote these affirmations within their communities."

According to latest UNHCR estimates, there were 45.2 million forcibly displaced people in the world at the start of 2013, the highest number since 1994.

"These affected people need us to work better together as we seek to help them," says Albinson.

"I welcome the recent initiative of UNHCR to pursue ways of healthy and effective collaboration with local churches and other faith-based organisations in response to growing global refugee crisis.

"I hope that the church rises to the occasion, setting an example for others to follow."

The WEA and the Refugee Highway Partnership invited Christians to pray for the persecuted and oppressed on 16 and 23 June as part of World Refugee Day.

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