29 June 2018, GENEVA: On 25 June 2018, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue organized a World Conference on the theme of “Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights” at the United Nations Office at Geneva in collaboration with the International Catholic Migration Commission, the World Council of Churches, the Arab Thought Forum, the World Council of Religious Leaders, Bridges to Common Ground and the European Centre for Peace and Development.
The World Conference - held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan - was addressed by more than 35 world-renowned religious, political and lay leaders from the major regions of the world.
Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission remarked in his statement that “We believe human rights came from heaven based on our certain faith that God created all people in His image and likeness and gave both a unique identity as well as equal rights and fundamental freedoms to all His creatures.”
He further noted that, over the years, the Pope and the bishops who represent the teaching authorities of the Catholic Church further created a doctrine which concerned the rights and duties of citizens in their countries.
They had cautioned against leaving people stateless and advised for solidarity in welcoming and assisting persons who are forced out of their homeland whether due to political reasons, ethnic discrimination or poverty.
Based on the numerous summits convening Muslims and Christian leaders and promoting dialogue, peace and reconciliation that he had previously attended, Msgr. Vitillo provided the following recommendations in relation to equal citizenship rights:
- “Reinforce the pillars of justice and peace in a violent and changing world through education, which always will stress the importance of common religious teachings that guarantee the dignity and rights of others and so establish authentic plurality and diversity”. (Beirut, 2012);
- “Reaffirm that women play a key role in peace-building at all levels of society, and acknowledge that women often bear the greatest burden of violence, poverty, discrimination, human trafficking, marginalization, inequity, and exclusion.” (Rome, 2014);
- “Ensure that migrants never become a-national or stateless, in accordance with the right to nationality stated by international conventions, and citizenship should be recognized at birth.” (jus soli)
- “Ensure access to education to all underage migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, so that they have access to primary and secondary schooling at the same standard as citizens and independently of their legal status.”
About the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue
The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, an organization with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, is a think tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights through cross-cultural, religious and civilizational dialogue between the Global North and Global South, and through training of the upcoming generations of stakeholders in the Arab region. Its aim is to act as a platform for dialogue between a variety of stakeholders involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.
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