28 June 2018, GENEVA: On 25 June 2018, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue organized a World Conference on the theme of “Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” at the United Nations Office at Geneva, in collaboration with the International Catholic Migration Commission, the World Council of Churches, the Arab Thought Forum, the World Council of Religious Leaders, Bridges to Common Ground and the European Centre for Peace and Development.
The World Conference, held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, was addressed by more than 35 world-renowned religious, political and lay leaders from the major regions of the world. The panel of speakers consisted of numerous renowned personalities, including Dr. Arthur Dahl, the president of the International Environment Forum, Former Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.
In his statement, Dr. Dahl remarked that “Up until recently, great economies like that of America and Australia were largely built through the hard work of migrants, and even today, with many countries experiencing ageing populations and birth-rates below replacement levels, their future will depend on migration”.
He further touched upon two main factors that had changed in recent years: firstly, the negative reaction towards globalisation, which had given rise to nationalism coupled with the revival of ancient tendencies to racism, and resulting in increased divisions and social fragmentation. Although religion is based on the idea of acceptance and tolerance, Dr. Dahl deplored the fact that faith had been manipulated into an additional reason for discrimination and rejection. Secondly, the speaker stated that the human population was pressing against its planetary limits, and that climate change would be causing hundreds of millions of people to be displaced in the coming decades. Since environmentally-induced migrations could be anticipated, Dr. Dahl remarked that these should be planned for beforehand, and that this should be the responsibility of an appropriate UN agency.
Finally, Dr. Dahl concluded that migrants were often denied even the most fundamental human rights protection. In order to remedy this, he reiterated that “by educating those in the communities receiving migrants to have sympathy for their plight and a sense of responsibility towards them, welcoming them and assisting in their settlement, many human rights violations could be avoided.”
He then encouraged the receiving communities to offer opportunities for education, employment and participation to migrants, and to see the culture and faith that the latter bring with them as enriching the diversity in their new community.
About the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue
The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, an organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a think tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.
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