WEA’s UN teams work with WEA members to advance human rights, religious freedom and creation care through the United Nations. The following newsletter highlights our recent public advocacy activities. Thank you for your interest and support.
–The WEA Global Advocacy team
Season of Creation 2023
It’s the Season of Creation! This is a special time of the year when we contemplate and deepen our understanding of God as Creator, while also engaging more consciously with His precious creation. The Season of Creation runs from September 1 until October 4. This offers us a whole month of opportunities to explore the theme of creation care through activities such as Bible studies, thematic worship services, joint initiatives, or personal moments of quiet reflection and contemplation.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 5 or 12
Plan now to stand with those who are under pressure for their faith around the world! The WEA produces resources in English, French, Arabic, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian to assist churches in praying and encouraging meaningful action. These will soon be available at www.idop.org
A special IDOP service will be streamed on November 5 on the IDOP website and on the WEA Facebook page.
Upcoming Event in Conjunction with the Human Rights Council
The World Evangelical Alliance, on behalf of a coalition of NGOs, invites you to attend our Human Rights Council side event, “The Crisis in Manipur and Implications for Human Rights in India.”
You can attend in person on Tuesday, September 19 at 4:00 p.m. Central European Time (10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern time) at room XXV, Building E, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. The event will be broadcast live on YouTube. For more information, download the event flyer.
Creation Care Survey: We Need Your Participation!
Chris Elisara of the WEA Sustainability Center is involved in the World Economic Forum’s upcoming report entitled Faith in Action. Slated for release at the annual meeting in Davos in January 2024, the report aims to “showcase the value of partnerships between faith-based organizations and businesses for the common good.” The report further aims to engage multi-stakeholder faith partners in addressing global challenges and encouraging transformative collaborations with businesses, governments, and philanthropy.
To gather insights for this report, Chris is inviting individuals engaged in collaborative creation care initiatives, regardless of their role (Christian organization, business, government, or non-religious nonprofit), to participate in a survey! Please share the initiative and survey with your colleagues and networks. The deadline is September 15.
STATEMENTS, REPORTS AND SUBMISSIONS
WEA Comments on UN New Agenda for Peace
WEA Global Advocacy and the WEA Peace and Reconciliation Network jointly submitted a statement to the UN New Agenda For Peace. In its submission, the WEA states that faith communities have a unique role to play in peacebuilding. We further encourage support for healing from trauma. Peacebuilding requires education, particularly for women and girls, and investment by governments. Finally, the submission encourages publication of stories on positive examples of peacebuilding so as to establish cultures of peacebuilding around the world.
Good Practices in Promotion of Freedom of Conscience, Religion or Belief – Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief
The International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), WEA’s research institute on religious freedom, responded to a call from the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, who requested input regarding how to promote the right to freedom of conscience, religion, or belief at the national or local level. The IIRF submitted a report that describes and analyzes best practices in promoting religious freedom in different settings around the world. Among the cases described are Nigeria, Iraq, Syria, and Colombia, including the city of Manizales, Colombia as an example at the local level.
Malaysia: The Protection of Migrant Workers, Refugees, and Stateless Individuals – Report to the UPR 45th session
On July 18, the WEA, World Freedom Network, and Asia Freedom Network submitted a report to the Human Rights Council ahead of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malaysia, which is scheduled for January 2024 during the UPR 45th session. Our submission reported on the situation of human trafficking in Malaysia, focusing on the protection of migrant workers and refugees, as well as stateless people.
Nigeria: Violence, Insecurity and Protection of the Population – Report to the UPR 45th session
On July 18, the WEA, Open Doors International, and Nigeria Evangelical Fellowship (NEF) submitted a joint report to the Human Rights Council ahead of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Nigeria, which is also scheduled for January 2024. This submission reported on the situation of human security and freedom of religion in Nigeria, addressing violations of the right to life stemming from widespread violence and killings by armed non-state actors and insecurity, as well as the impact of blasphemy laws in several Nigerian states on the rights of freedom of religion and freedom of expression.
Plastics Treaty: A UN Plastics Treaty – One Step Closer
See the WEA Sustainability Center’s article on the emerging UN Plastics Treaty from May 3, 2023.
The IIRF contributes to USCIRF report, “Religious Freedom for Indigenous Communities in Latin America”
Researchers connected to the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF) and its partner organization the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America (OLIRE) published the report “Religious Freedom for Indigenous Communities in Latin America” for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The report analyzes international and domestic legal measures to protect indigenous communities.
Oral Statements at the Human Rights Council
Human Trafficking | WEA calls for long-term protection against human trafficking in Ukraine and neighboring countries. June 28.
Sri Lanka | WEA calls on Sri Lanka to repeal circulars on registration of places of worship. July 10.
Burning of Quran | WEA, WCC and Caritas jointly condemn religious hatred in urgent debate at the Human Rights Council. July 11.
Diplomatic Engagements in New York
Holy See Mission: On August 16, John Girgis, the WEA’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, met with Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. The Archbishop expressed the Vatican’s commitment to interreligious dialogues and collaboration for the sake of the human race and pointed out the Pope’s signing of the Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together in the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Read the document here. Both Caccia and Girgis committed to continued collaboration between their missions in New York under the UN Framework for the Common Good.
L-R: Lily Mills, Advisor to the Israeli Ambassador; Richard Kirenga, WEA-UN Office; John Girgis, WEA; and H.E. Gilad Erdan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations
Israel UN Ambassador: The Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations and the WEA have committed to working together to enhance the friendship of Israel and evangelicals in Israel and around the world. On September 5, Ambassador Gilad Menashe Erdan, Israeli Permanent Representative to the UN, met with John Girgis of the WEA at the Permanent Mission of Israel. The two discussed many topics of common interest to Israel and the WEA.
IIRF receives donation of the Global Religious Freedom Data Spectrum
The Global Religious Freedom Data Spectrum Project aims to provide a comparative framework by collecting and presenting a wide range of public data from multiple organizations’ country rankings on the issues of freedom of religion or belief. It was launched in 2020 by the organization 21Wilberforce, in partnership with the Loeb Institute of George Washington University. The project was hosted by 21Wilberforce until 2023, when it was transferred to the IIRF. 21Wilberforce remains a partner in the project. This generous donation contributes to IIRF’s vision of developing a comprehensive information management system on religious freedom for academics, policy makers, journalists, and others.
By collecting the diverse rankings in one central location, the Data Spectrum offers users the opportunity to get a richer and broader look at each country in the world. The project provides maps showing the data in a compelling way that can help people understand the opportunities and gaps in global religious freedom data.
WEA Global Advocacy in the News
Janet Epp Buckingham, “Stopping violence based on religion must be a priority,” Evangelical Focus, August 22. (Op-ed related to the UN International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief)
Janet Epp Buckingham, “Detener la violencia por motivos religiosos debe ser una prioridad,” Protestante Digital, August 22. (Spanish translation of the preceding item)
CNE.News | Evangelical Alliance demands better protection of Ukrainian refugees, June 28.
Info Chrétienne | L’Alliance Evangélique Mondiale alerte l’ONU sur la protection des personnes déplacées en Ukraine, June 30, 2023.
Christianity Today | Quran Burning in Sweden Singes Muslim-World Christians, July 11. (WEA team member Wissam al-Saliby quoted extensively)
Évangéliques.info | L’Alliance évangélique mondiale adresse ses propositions à l’ONU pour le «Nouvel agenda pour la paix», July 18.
A Public Witness | Troubling the Water in Switzerland, July 20. (WEA team member Markus Hofer quoted)
WORLD | Faithful among the nations, July 27. (Feature article on Wissam al-Saliby)
Christianity Today | International Anti-Persecution Strategies Are Failing Nigerian Christians, August 2. (Essay by Wissam al-Saliby)
Issues of Concern
India: Violence in Manipur
We have been watching with great concern the violence in the Manipur region of India. Christians have been targeted. See the statement from the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
Pakistan: Destruction of Churches and Homes in Jaranwala
The violence against Christians in Jaranwala in Pakistan is deeply concerning. More than 20 churches were destroyed along with Christian homes as part of a mob response to an allegation of blasphemy against the Qu’ran. See the statement from the Pakistan Evangelical Alliance.
Partner with Us!
WEA’s UN offices in Geneva and New York need to increase capacity to respond to the advocacy requests from our global Evangelical constituency. If you are interested in becoming partners and supporting our advocacy work, please contact us. To make donations, please visit www.worldea.org/donate, where you can designate your gift toward Global Advocacy.
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