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.

Related Events

Webinar: Anti-Black Racism and Afrophobia in the Canadian Context

Webinar: Anti-Black Racism and Afrophobia in the Canadian Context

01 October 2018 Online

The United Church of Canada, in partnership with the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, is presenting a webinar on anti-Black racism and Afrophobia. This webinar is part of the church’s participation in the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.

20 years since the Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women

20 years since the Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women

01 - 06 October 2018 Kingston, Jamaica

In the context of the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace and the 2030 sustainable development agenda, an international consultation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the WCC’s Decade of the Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998). The consultation will reflect on the achievements and challenges in building a just community of women and men and to strengthen ecumenical collaboration in reading the signs of our times in order to map the future direction of our work.

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Faith groups: Human dignity should be main focus among climate change and foreign debt concerns

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Climate change and foreign debt are intersecting human rights issues, and faith communities can contribute to better understanding and addressing these concerns, agreed many who attended a side event held on the occasion of the 39th Human Rights Council at Palais des Nations in Geneva on 18 September.

Doing his best without being the best

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Last week, the chairperson of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network, bishop Arnold Temple from The Methodist Church Sierra Leone, came to Stockholm to participate in the World Water Week, which is the world’s leading annual water event where experts and decision-makers from all over the world gather to strengthen the systems and processes that govern access to – and protection of – fresh water.

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