?The call of the World Council of Churches – When human lives are in danger
Geneva, 15. “All members of the
international community have a moral and legal duty to save the lives of those
in jeopardy at sea or in transit, regardless of their origin and status”. The
Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), thus expressed
strong concern for the many migrants in numerous regions around the globe and
especially for those who are “driven to undertake journeys of desperate risk
and danger”. This is the case for Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants and the
peoples from North Africa who are moving en masse towards the coast of Europe.
This statement was published by the executive committee of the ecumenical
council following a visit last week to Echmiadzin, Armenia, the see of the
Armenian Apostolic Church. The purpose of their visit was to pay tribute to the
victims of Metz Yeghém, the “Great Evil” which was carried out in Armenia. The
meeting was also an occasion — the WCC
communiqué reads — to examine several
pressing problems, urgent to the Church and the world. Among these was the
issue of immigration which is “an escalating global problem, with different
expressions and responses in different contexts”.
The statement, which meaningfully opens with
a passage from the Gospel about the final judgement (cf. Mt, 25:35) expresses
“deep concern for the lives of the increasing numbers of people globally who,
fleeing from situations of violence, oppression, occupation or economic
deprivation, are driven to undertake journeys of desperate risk and danger”.
The situation is not new, however, today it is increasingly troublesome and is
exemplified by the “deaths of
unprecedented numbers of migrants and refugees seeking to cross the
Mediterranean Sea to Europe” and “of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants on the
Andaman Sea”. Concerning also are the “recent killings of Ethiopian Christian
migrant workers by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ in Libya, and the xenophobic
violence against migrants in South Africa”. All of these situations involve
vulnerable people who are forced to leave their home country in the pursuit of
safety and a better life for themselves and their families.