Menu
Woman holding a dove, Iraq

Open letter from faith leaders

Addressing the leaders of member governments of the United Nations.

We, leaders of faith and religious organisations, groups and communities, including those supporting the Charter for Faith-Based Humanitarian Action, are compelled by our faiths to come together to speak out for those most marginalised.

All faiths and religions actively encourage the recognition and support of those most in need and are uniquely placed to respond.

Many of us live near, or are part of, populations affected by crisis, and enjoy special relationships of trust with as well as insights into and access to our communities beyond those of non-faith actors. We are present before crises occur and are key providers of assistance and protection both during them and afterwards.

We can no longer stand by as the number of people forced from their homes, but who have not crossed a border, continues to rise in the wake of protracted crises and climate change. Currently there are more than 65 million people displaced due to conflict and violence, and 40.5 million of these remain in their countries of origin.

It would take more than a year to read all their names.

Millions more are displaced due to climate-related events and disasters.  We call on you to do more to ensure that the needs and rights of internally displaced people are addressed and upheld.

We stand in solidarity with people who have fled their homes but not crossed borders; many of them are the poorest and most vulnerable in their communities, including women, children, elderly and disabled people, yet so often they receive none of the support and protection to which refugees are entitled.

Displaced on average for 15 years, often repeatedly, most exist without access to basic services such as health and education, are often subjected to abuse, torture and harassment, and face despair.

Our faiths compel us to speak out against the disregard of their human rights, their marginalisation, and the stripping of their dignity.  We are united in calling on you to work with UN agencies, INGOs, civil society and faith communities to prevent displacement in the first place, to protect those who are displaced, and to work with people forced to flee to find durable solutions.

In this 20th anniversary year of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, it is time to lay the ground for bold action in support of a FAIR deal (Funded, Ambitious, Inclusive and which Respects international law) for people forced to flee within their country of origin.

The Global Compacts on Refugees and Migration, to be signed this year, regrettably provide scant attention to the ignored millions, forced out of their homes but still within their countries of origin. If we are to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensure we Leave No One Behind, then the international community must ensure that internally displaced people receive the protection and support that they so desperately need.

We therefore encourage you, leaders of national governments, together with local partners, civil society, faith communities and the private sector as well as humanitarian and development actors, to join the GP20 Plan of Action to prevent further forcible displacement of people, strengthen the protection of those who are displaced, and seek long-lasting and durable solutions with them.

We call on you to consider your commitments to the SDGs, and those made at the World Humanitarian Summit, to ensure that nobody is left behind but that everyone, including the millions of internally displaced people so often overlooked, have access to adequate protection and assistance in line with their inherent dignity and worth.  

Signed,

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary,  ACT Alliance

Dr Bright Mawudor, Deputy General Secretary,  All Africa Conference of Churches

Reverend Dr Andre Karamaga, General Secretary (outgoing), All Africa Conference of Churches

Reverend Dr Fidon Mwombeki, General Secretary (incoming), All Africa Conference of Churches

Reverend Rachel Carnegie, Co-Executive Director, Anglican Alliance

The Most Reverend Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General, Anglican Communion

Reverend Alan Donaldson, General Director,Baptist Union of Scotland

Reverend Denzil John, Baptist Union of Wales

Reverend Judith Morris, General Secretary, Baptist Union of Wales

Benjamin Laniado, CEO, Cadena

The Most Reverend John D E Davies,  Archbishop of Wales & Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, Church in Wales

The Right Reverend Andrew John, Bishop of Bangor, Church in Wales

The Right Reverend June Osborne, Bishop of Llandaff, Church in Wales

The Right Reverend Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, Church in Wales

Graham Gordon, Head of Public Policy, CAFOD

Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, Church of England

The Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, Church of England

The Right Reverend Susan Brown, Moderator, Church of Scotland

Christine Elliott, Director of International Programmes, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland

Patrick Coyle, Chair, Cytûn/Churches Together in Wales Board

Canon Grace Kaiso, General Secretary, Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa

The Right Reverend Jonathan Clark, Chair, CTBI Churches Refugee Network

Reverend Aled Edwards OBE, Chief Executive, Cytûn/Churches Together in Wales Board

David Smith, Country Director Nepal and Bangladesh, DanChurchAid

Nozmul Hussain, Chief Executive Officer, East London Mosque & London Muslim Centre

Archbishop Justin Badi, Primate,  Episcopal Church South Sudan

Dr Hany ElBanna, President, The Humanitarian Forum

Alfredo Abad, Iglesia Evangélica Española

Rev. Carola Tron, Moderadora, Iglesia Evangélica Valdense del Río de la Plata

Father Alberto Franco Giraldo, Director, Interchurch Commission on Justice & Peace, Colombia

Gamal Serour, Director, International Islamic Center for Population Studies and Research

Naser Haghamed, Chief Executive, Islamic Relief Worldwide

Father Jean Robert Dery, Coordinator, Jesuits Mission in Haiti

Jean Duff, Coordinator, Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities

Prof. Mohammed Abu-Nimer, Senior Advisor, KAICIID Dialogue Centre

Bala Gnanapragasam, Vice-President of Conference 2018/19, Methodist Church

Reverend Michaela Youngson, President of Conference 2018/19, Methodist Church

Reverend Nigel Cowgill, Chair, Methodist Church (London District)

Pasteur Joseph Clement, Director, Mission Sociale des Eglises d’Haiti

Harun Khan, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain

Reverend Nicta Lubaale, Secretary General, Organisation of African Instituted Churches

Reverend Meirion Morris, General Secretary, Presbyterian Church of Wales

Reverend Brian Matthews, Moderator,  Presbyterian Church of Wales

Dr Vinya Ariyaratne, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka

Paul Subrata Malakar, Director,  Shalom, Church of Bangladesh

Reverend Dyfrig Rees, General Secretary, Union of Welsh Independents

Ambassador Marie-Thérèse Pictet-Althann, Permanent Observer to the United Nations Geneva, Sovereign Order of Malta

John P Cross, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland

Wissam Al-Saliby, World Evangelical Alliance

Paul Anticoni, Chief Executive, World Jewish Relief

Rafi Cooper, Director of Communications, World Jewish Relief

Esther Lehmann-Sow, Global Director, Faith & Development, World Vision International