The workshop, entitled “Addressing Risks and Vulnerability to HIV for Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced People” was offered both in-person and online.
In an opening address, Ayoko Bahun-Wilson, West Africa regional coordinator for the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme, said that despite COVID-19, she sees communities keeping their hope alive. “We are certainly troubled but not destroyed,” she said. “The seriousness of HIV and AIDS and its devastating effects on the continent's productive forces in general and those of Nigeria in particular are well known.”
Rev. Dr Evans Onyemara, general secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria, said that we live in a time when the suffering of the masses is increasing, especially in Nigeria. “Nigeria is passing through a lot of challenges and people, particularly those who are displaced, are suffering because their welfare has been totally neglected,” he said. “There must be humanitarian concerns shared by the church about the risks and vulnerabilities of these people who are on the margins of society,” he said.
Rev. Dr Benebo Fubara-Manuel, president of the Christian Council of Nigeria, said that the world in which we live today is one that involves truly being on the move. “As can be seen, some movements are positive and part of God’s will for people but some are movements that are the result of sin,” he said.
When we stop humans from moving, or hurt those who move, we stand against the dignity of God in them, Fubara-Manuel continued. “It is foundational to our Christian faith, therefore, to be on the move and to protect those on the move.”
Concluding the workshop was the launch of the Healing Together Manual, a resource for church communities undergoing trauma healing and transformation.
The workshop is part of a series that the WCC in implementing in partnership with the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and UNAIDS.