Welcoming the Stranger

50c880db6 UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres poses  with some of the participants in the Dialogue on Faith and Protection. UNHCR photo/ J M Ferré

Following a ‘Dialogue on Faith and Protection’ convened by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in December 2012, an inter-religious drafting group was asked to reflect on common principles, shared among religious traditions, which foster the protection, nurturing, and acceptance of persons who have been forcibly displaced.

The resulting document included 16 pledges to be made by Leaders of Faith Communities regarding the duty of their respective religious traditions to welcome the stranger, and a brief listing of religious principles that support this common understanding.

The document calls for steps to be taken to combat xenophobia (outright attacks, for example) or dehumanization (references to “illegals”, for example) of forcibly displaced people. In sharing the document the Permanent Representative of the Holy See to The UN in Geneva, Monsignor Tomasi stated that it provides an opportunity for bishops, pastors, principals and administrators of Catholic institutions to affirm that welcoming the stranger is a moral duty, for themselves and the entire community of faith.

The document is available on the website of the International Catholic Migration Commission

As a contribution to the  Dialogue on Faith and Protection convened by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees a summary of some of the involvements with refugees and asylum seekers by the Edmund Rice Network around the globe was submitted and can be viewed here.


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