World Council of Churches

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

You are here: Home / What we do / Human rights

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.

Related News

Christian communicators urge technologies that unite

Christian communicators urge technologies that unite

The World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) is urging us all to use and promote technologies to unite people and communities divided by adversity.

Freedom of religion rooted in justice

Freedom of religion rooted in justice

A recent consultation took important steps to find a faithful paradigm of thinking over the issue of "Freedom of Religion or Belief."Twenty-two church leaders and theologians gathered in Hattersheim am Main, Germany, 25-27 February, to discuss this issue in light of the global rise of ethno-nationalisms, xenophobia, interreligious intolerance, patriarchal hegemony and racism.“Given the present rise of ethno-nationalisms that use religion as identity markers and for legitimization of violence, it is imperative that we as people of faith be able to support the freedom of religion and work towards a world in which all people of faith have the freedom of expression, articulation and propagation of their faith,” said Philip Vinod Peacock, executive secretary for justice and witness of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

 “Migrants are not missiles, they are people” says WCC general secretary in response to crisis at Greek-Turkish border

“Migrants are not missiles, they are people” says WCC general secretary in response to crisis at Greek-Turkish border

Following a deal reached between the European Union and Turkey in March 2016, Turkey has been taking measures to prevent migrants – many of them fleeing the conflict in Syria – from reaching the EU, in exchange for European aid for migrants and refugees, and for relaxation of EU visa requirements for Turkish citizens. On Friday 28 February, after military losses in north-west Syria – where Turkey has been trying to create a safe area to resettle millions of Syrian refugees and to serve Turkish interests against the Kurds – those measures were suspended, resulting in large numbers of people attempting to cross into Greece and consequent clashes with Greek security forces.

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.