World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

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Human rights

This project accompanies churches in critical situations in their efforts to defend human rights and dignity, overcome impunity, achieve accountability and build just and peaceful societies.
Human rights

Banner at a rallye involving representatives of the WCC and other civil society organizations

Human rights to enhance human dignity

The WCC works to defend human dignity by addressing human rights from an ethical and theological perspective. It responds to requests from churches to support their work when human dignity is threatened. This project attempts to accompany churches and strengthen their advocacy work for human rights. This requires an holistic approach where civil and political rights, economic, cultural and social rights are addressed in an integrated way.

Further development of the inter-religious dimension of rights and dignity; a focus on victims' and minority rights, impunity, and religious freedom; and providing the churches with a space in which they can discuss the relationship between justice, human rights and human dignity are project priorities. The project will work closely with another WCC project, the Global platform on theological reflection and analysis, on a study on justice and rights.

The WCC participates in the three annual sessions of the new UN Human Rights Council (HRC), presenting written and oral submissions on religious freedom and intolerance, and on socioeconomic and cultural rights relating to migration, racism and xenophobia.

In addition, the WCC enables victims of human rights abuses from the South to gain access to special mechanisms within the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (HCHR), and to provide oral testimony as well as to get acquainted with the new HRC. Cooperation with other ecumenical actors, exchanging information and arranging regular meetings during the HRC sessions are part of this effort to build and strengthen the capacity of the churches to ensure respect for the full range of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

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Related Documents

Freedom of religion or belief - A guide to biblical insights

The World Council of Churches has published “Freedom of Religion or Belief: A guide to biblical insights or Belief,” as part of online training offered through the Freedom of Religion or Belief Learning Platform. The guide offers reflections and focus questions on how the Bible speaks of human rights, human dignity, universalism and other subjects. It also explores the Bible and the concept of justice, as well as the importance of the freedom to have, choose, change, or leave a religion.