Media CenterReligious leaders call for U.N. to offer brighter future to migrants and refugees

Photo courtesy of Matthieu Alexandre/Caritas Internationalis

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

Baltimore, MD, April 30, 2018 – At a conference featuring interfaith leaders held at the United Nations this week, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders will be calling on countries to ensure safe and legal pathways for migrants and refugees as well as inclusive societies and the right to remain at home. They will also be describing how organizations flowing from their faith traditions serve those in their places of origin, in transit, and destination.

The conference will be held at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, May 3, from 1:15-2:45 pm EST. The event is held in the run up to intergovernmental talks later in May on improving the way the world assists migrants and refugees. The Sharing the Journey of Migrants and Refugees: An Interfaith Perspective on the Global Compacts event includes the Venerable Gijun Sugitani, Rabbi David Rosen, Sheikh Mohamad Abou Zeid, Metropolitan Emmanuel Adamakis and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle and will be chaired by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.

The panel is aimed at ensuring the UN Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants respect the rights of all migrants and enshrine a shared responsibility for refugee reception.

Preceding the conference:

  • Press conference featuring the speakers and migrants: Thursday, May 3, from 12:30-1 EST at UN Headquarters. RSVP to Kim Pozniak at [email protected].
  • Policy discussion featuring faith-based organizations responding to the refugee and migrant crisis on May 3 at 10am at Church Center, 777 UN Plaza, NY, NY 10017. Faith through Action is sponsored by Caritas Internationalis with panelists from Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service, Islamic Relief and Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. For more information and to RSVP, visit

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Tagle said in anticipation of the conference, “Faith leaders are urging governments to improve their response to the mass movements of people and reduce the suffering of millions. Our different religions share a universal message of ‘love thy neighbour.’ The Global Compacts offer a once-in-a-generation chance to challenge the rising tide of xenophobia.”

Lebanon’s Sheikh Mohamad Abou Zeid said, “Ibrahim, Moses, and Jesus were great religious leaders who lived part of their lives away from their homeland as immigrants. Islam talks about migration as a justified choice for those who are under threat, or being persecuted, or oppressed.”

Caritas is concerned by the wide gap between what the Compacts say and the current policies and practices on the ground. Greater consistency between the two Compacts is also needed. They must ensure that no one is left behind, by creating legal pathways not just for asylum seekers, but for migrants in general. Shared responsibility in supporting refugees fleeing conflict, climate change and poverty must also be achieved.

“We urge all stakeholders to protect refugees, asylum-seekers and forced migrants. Beyond humanitarian assistance, we must find creative new ways to enable forcibly displaced persons to participate fully in their host communities and become agents of their own futures,” said Jill Marie Gerschutz, CRS Senior Policy and Legislative Specialist and one of the panelists for the policy discussion.

Pope Francis launched Caritas’ Share the Journey campaign in September 2017 to create opportunities for encounters between migrants and local communities around the world. Caritas believes that encounters not only contribute to changing the debate around migration, but also successfully break down fear and racism.

The May 3 Sharing the Journey of Migrants and Refugees: An Interfaith Perspective on the Global Compacts panel is co-sponsored by Caritas Internationalis and the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York.

To attend the panel, it is necessary to RSVP by April 30. The event will also be broadcast live via

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tags: advocacy


Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
April 30, 2018

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More