Globalization, Human Rights, Social Welfare Resolutions Passed at WCC Central Committee Meeting

The Central Committee members of the World Council of Churches (WCC) approved a series of public statements and recommendations covering a range of issues, a day before their weeklong meeting in Geneva, Switzerland comes to an end, Feb. 21, 2005.

Reflecting the ecumenical nature of the WCC, the central committee members adopted a statement to live out the gospel of hospitality to those in need of asylum.

Churches and Christians are called to "insist as a matter of principle, that undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers are detained only in exceptional circumstances", "for only a limited time", with access to "judicial review" and never in worse conditions than "convicted criminals¡±, the statement read.

"Analyzing global patterns of migration reveals an enormous gap between the gospel imperative to practise hospitality towards strangers and the actual policies and practice of governments to close borders".

The newly adopted statement is one of 17 recommendations penned by the WCC central committee in relation to ¡°uprooted people¡± in the field of globalization and migration.

The Central Committee also approved a ¡°Call to declare 2006 UN International Year of Indigenous Languages.¡±

The statement was adopted in light of the recent speculations that 90% of the world¡¯s 6,700 languages will become extinct by the end of the century.

Faced with this eventuality, "the need to revitalize the world¡¯s indigenous languages", which "carry a storehouse of indigenous knowledge accrued and refined over millennia", becomes all the more urgent,¡± the statement expressed.

Therefore, "the establishment of a UN International Year of Indigenous Languages in 2006 or a subsequent year", as well as the signature of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is a necessary step to preserving the world¡¯s languages.

Also, in light of the tragic tsunami-disaster that struck much of South Asia, the Council¡¯s governing body encouraged the WCC general Secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia to send a ¡°living letters¡± delegation to churches and countries affected.

With profound sadness and deep anguish because of the massive loss of lives, but also encouraged by the spontaneous and unprecedented response to the crisis by all sectors, the central committee emphasized "the importance of keeping the local people at the centre of the initiatives for relief and rehabilitation", according to the WCC. It also highlighted "the need for constructive cooperation amongst different faith communities" and for "long-term spiritual accompaniment and trauma counselling".

Other resolutions adopted were those regarding the United Kingdom government initiatives for African development, the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and the human rights crisis in Vojvodina (Serbia-Montenegro)