Migrants and refugees: UISG Sisters Lead Dialogue to discuss global challenges, human rights and social cohesion

The second dialogue on key development issues promoted by the UISG initiative Sisters Advocating Globally is set to take place on Monday, 3rd July. The dialogue will involve Catholic Sisters from around the globe, intergovernmental organisations, interreligious partners and civil society groups, as well as experts from the academic and media worlds. This second appointment in UISG’s Sister-led dialogue series will take place at the UISG headquarters in Rome and focus on the topic of migration, aiming to understand where and how to allocate resources to promote inclusive and sustainable solutions.

Rome, 28th June 2023 – Analysing the root causes of migration trends and exploring how resources should be allocated to promote inclusive and sustainable solutions is the main objective of the Sister-led dialogue on migration. This event is promoted by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), which brings together more than 1,900 Superiors General in 97 countries, representing over 600,000 Catholic Sisters worldwide.

The event will be held on July 3rd in Rome at the UISG headquarters (Lungotevere Tor di Nona, 7). This will be the second in a series of dialogues on development issues organised by the UISG initiative Sisters Advocating Globally, in partnership with the Global Solidarity Fund. These dialogues will culminate in the first-ever UISG Advocacy Forum, taking place in Rome in October 2023.

The dialogue series kicked off in April 2023 with a first meeting on environmental issues including climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development. Every dialogue is structured as a series of thematic discussions between government representatives, intergovernmental organisations, Vatican institutions and partners from civil society, academia and the press, unpacking key issues regarding the future of our societies and the safeguarding of our most marginalised communities.

The second Sister-led dialogue will address the needs and challenges of migrants and refugees, focusing on three key themes: analysing the root causes of migration in the context of a globalised economy; humanitarian assistance and human rights; and finally, integral human development and social cohesion in countries of arrival.

“The migratory phenomenon is certainly one of the most pressing issues of our time. Migrants and refugees are at the centre of global attention and political discourse, often due to tragic incidents – says Sister Carmen Elisa Bandeo, Coordinator of the International Migrants & Refugees Network at UISG. – At UISG, we believe the international community has a responsibility to provide assistance to all migrants and refugees, guarantee the full respect of their rights, and facilitate their integration within host communities. Through this Sister-led dialogue, we want to harness the experiences and skills of partners from a range of different backgrounds, exploring where and how to invest resources and promote inclusive solutions to one of the most urgent challenges of our time.”

Migration has strongly increased on a global scale over the past decade, as socio-economic inequalities, political imbalances and climate change lead people to leave their countries in search of better living conditions. In 2020, approximately 281 million migrants were estimated to live in a country other than their homeland, which corresponds to 3.6% of the total global population.[1] According to UNHCR,[2] the number of people displaced by war, violence, persecution and human rights abuses reached a record 110 million at the end of last year – an unprecedented increase of 19 million on the previous year. Of these, 35 million are refugees, i.e. people who have crossed an international border in search of safety, while over 62 million (58%) are displaced within their own countries due to wars and violence.

UISG wants to seek concrete answers to this era-defining phenomenon: a policy brief will be presented and published after the dialogue, containing a series of recommendations on the topic of migrants and refugees to be shared with Sisters and partners around the world.

“As Pope Francis reminded us on June 20th, World Refugee Day, ‘the problem of hospitality needs to be confronted together, without excuses and without delay, because the effects will be felt, sooner or later, by all of us’ – adds Sister Patricia Murray, Executive Secretary at UISGWe are well aware of the exploitation, discrimination and dangers that many migratory routes entail, and the enormous challenges to ensuring the respect of human rights globally. As Catholic Sisters, we are committed to promoting global dialogue on the needs of local communities, with particular attention to the protection of marginalised people. In a world where walls and barriers are erected based on difference and misunderstanding, our task is to build bridges between people and communities, fostering dialogue and forging a path of fraternity. This is what UISG’s Sister-led dialogues are all about.”

To learn more about the International Union of Superiors General: https://www.uisg.org/en/
To learn more about Sisters Advocating Globally: https://advocacy.uisg.org/

[1] https://worldmigrationreport.iom.int/wmr-2022-interactive/

[2] https://www.unhcr.org/global-trends-report-2022

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