Not only welcoming, but protecting the stranger

“I believe a second step may be needed to strengthen our resolve. As people of faith, we should both welcome and protect the stranger: welcome with open arms, and protect by advocating for their human rights, ensuring their dignity so that all refugees, all internally displaced people, may have hope and a future.” Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert
“I believe a second step may be needed to strengthen our resolve. As people of faith, we should both welcome and protect the stranger: welcome with open arms, and protect by advocating for their human rights, ensuring their dignity so that all refugees, all internally displaced people, may have hope and a future.” Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

World Refugee Day: LWF General Secretary calls for stronger resolve to protect refugees 

(LWI) – The General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Rev. Dr. Martin Junge has called for a stronger resolve of the community of states to protect refugees and internally displaced people. 

Earlier this week UNHCR released figures which show that the number of refugees, internally displaced people and asylum seekers is at an all-time high. In a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr, Filippo Grandi, the LWF leader wrote that this is “a cause for concern and should be a wake-up call for governments, organizations, and all people of goodwill around the world.“  

„More than ever,” the LWF general secretary wrote, “the world needs the convening role of multilateral institutions like the United Nations, and legal instruments like the 1951 Refugee Convention which commits the nations and people of the world to recognize the rights of persons to seek asylum from persecution in other countries.“  

The Lutheran leader noted that the vulnerability of people fleeing persecution has been further exacerbated in recent days by the double crises of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. 

Protecting the stranger 

In 2012, the LWF, joined a call from UNHCR to faith leaders, pledging its “support to welcome the stranger. I firmly believe this was an important step to mobilize people of faith who are actively building up local communities.“ The current state of affairs today, with a record number of refugees and internally displaced people, the devastation of COVID-19 and the ongoing climate crisis, makes it necessary to take further steps, the LWF leader writes: 

“I believe a second step may be needed to strengthen our resolve. As people of faith, we should both welcome and protect the stranger: welcome with open arms, and protect by advocating for their human rights, ensuring their dignity so that all refugees, all internally displaced people, may have hope and a future.” 

Grateful for long-standing partnership 

While pledging the commitment of the LWF, General Secretary Junge expressed his gratitude to the High Commissioner for his visionary leadership in the humanitarian sector and for the partnership and collaboration that the UNHCR has with faith-based actors: 

Your personal leadership and dedication have been instrumental in creating greater collaboration within the UN system and with partner NGOs like ourselves. I am particularly grateful for your outreach, dialogue and commitment to addressing sexual and gender-based violence as well as the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in the humanitarian sector.“  

Junge also offered gratitude for the long-standing partnership between LWF and UNHCR. 

“The LWF is committed to continuing to work with you, including in contributing our faith values and perspectives to support in any way we can. We pledge our ongoing work with our own constituency to remain open for the stranger. Every action counts. Please continue counting the Lutheran World Federation as your partner for this cause.” 

LWF World Refugee Day 2020 - Online Press Kit

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