Jun. 13, 2019

** Role of churches ‘phenomenal’ in helping refugees, UN commissioner says

Torsten Moritz, general secretary of the CCME and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC visits UNHCR office in Geneva. Photo: Jennifer Philpot Nissen/WCC

13 June 2019

In a meeting on 12 June in Geneva with World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe general secretary Torsten Moritz, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi said the role of churches in Europe is “phenomenal” when it comes to helping refugees.

The three discussed the role of churches in peace-building processes, particularly the importance of peaceful voices from religious communities. Not only do churches provide direct support and assistance for refugees but political advocacy as well.

Tveit Grandi

World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit and United Nations high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi. Photo: Jennifer Philpot Nissen/WCC

The meeting focused on increasing the strength of that advocacy. Grandi said he wants to see more nations commit to reduce statelessness, and wants to explore what churches can do to support this.

Grandi added that he would like churches to play a role at the the Global Refugee Forum, scheduled for 17-18 December. Concerning migration, Grandi noted that some churches are not preaching inclusion and acceptance, and encouraged people to speak out against hostility.