“Religions Together for Humanitarian Action”
Reaching out to victims of armed conflict: the special role of faith-based actors
Experts, academics and religious leaders gather in Geneva at the United Nations Headquarters for a debate on the ties between fundamentalism and conflicts
Before World War I, 90% of war victims were military. Today 90% of casualties are civilians, mostly women and young children. Civilians have disproportionately become both targets and victims of warfare and the progressive deterioration in the application of humanitarian law is staggering. In the framework of its participation in the World Humanitarian Summit next year in Istanbul – organized by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Sovereign Order of Malta has organized the Symposium “Religions together for humanitarian action”.
Policy makers, lay and confessional leaders of international humanitarian organizations, representatives of four different religions, will gather in the United Nations Office at Geneva to explore how to better respond to the complex humanitarian disasters taking place and to understand the role of faith-based institutions in conflict-affected areas.
In the wake of many and diverse humanitarian crises, the symposium “Religions together for humanitarian action” will seek to explore how faith-based institutions can better reach people in need and contribute to implementing peace and resilience building. It will tackle the role of faith leaders in promoting dialogue and the impact of the current conflicts, particularly in the Middle East, on the aid field.
When humanitarian emergencies occur, faith-based institutions are often the first on the spot and the last to leave. Generally speaking they have no hidden agendas, no economic or political interest. They share a common ethical background and can therefore enable the promotion of confidence among local populations. For these reasons and many others, they often enjoy the trust of the people they assist.