New German alliance appeals for human dignity
Asylum seekers in German countryside, awaiting word on the government’s decision. © Paul Jeffrey/WCC
24 February 2016
A German alliance of diverse faith-based and civil-society groups has encouraged humanitarian response to refugees in Europe.
The full name of the alliance is the Alliance for Tolerance, Solidarity, Democracy and Constitutional State – Against Prejudice, Hatred and Violence. It comprises German civil-society organizations, industry representatives, employers, and faith-based groups representing Christians, Muslims and Jewish traditions.
The statement reads: “Germany is a democratic, cosmopolitan nation. It is integrated into the European Union – a community of shared values and common economic policy – and a nation bound to the principles of universal human rights. People of wide-ranging cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds have co-existed in Germany for decades. The protection of human dignity that is anchored in our Basic Law applies to all who live here – regardless of whether they have been here for generations, or have arrived as migrants or refugees.”
Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, chairperson of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, expressed his support for the alliance and its appeal. ”I hope this alliance will strengthen a basic social consensus in Germany that is not fed by fear nor stemming from the uncertainty, but flourishing in the spirit of confidence.”
The appeal, while acknowledging that taking in and integrating a large number of refugees poses huge social and economic challenges, goes on to say that people driven from their homes by war and persecution and in fear for their lives have a right to seek shelter in Europe.
“It is our belief that Germany must continue to fulfill its humanitarian duty in this regard. At the same time, there is no doubt that a common European solution is essential to address why people are fleeing, and to ensure that those who do so are treated properly. No member state of the European Union can opt out of this shared responsibility,” reads the appeal.
WCC/UN conference calls for coordinated action on refugee crisis (WCC press release of 20 January)