World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

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Human rights

This project accompanies churches in critical situations in their efforts to defend human rights and dignity, overcome impunity, achieve accountability and build just and peaceful societies.
Human rights

Banner at a rallye involving representatives of the WCC and other civil society organizations

Human rights to enhance human dignity

The WCC works to defend human dignity by addressing human rights from an ethical and theological perspective. It responds to requests from churches to support their work when human dignity is threatened. This project attempts to accompany churches and strengthen their advocacy work for human rights. This requires an holistic approach where civil and political rights, economic, cultural and social rights are addressed in an integrated way.

Further development of the inter-religious dimension of rights and dignity; a focus on victims' and minority rights, impunity, and religious freedom; and providing the churches with a space in which they can discuss the relationship between justice, human rights and human dignity are project priorities. The project will work closely with another WCC project, the Global platform on theological reflection and analysis, on a study on justice and rights.

The WCC participates in the three annual sessions of the new UN Human Rights Council (HRC), presenting written and oral submissions on religious freedom and intolerance, and on socioeconomic and cultural rights relating to migration, racism and xenophobia.

In addition, the WCC enables victims of human rights abuses from the South to gain access to special mechanisms within the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (HCHR), and to provide oral testimony as well as to get acquainted with the new HRC. Cooperation with other ecumenical actors, exchanging information and arranging regular meetings during the HRC sessions are part of this effort to build and strengthen the capacity of the churches to ensure respect for the full range of human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

Related News

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

In a 24 July statement on Hagia Sophia, Religions for Peace reiterated its commitment to the universality of heritage as something that can create peace and respect for all faiths. “We call for calm, in times when we see the use of religious sentiments and institutions in a manner that is divisive, thus pitting some believers against one another,” reads the statement. “We stand on the side of peace, and of deliberate, intentional, coexistence, particularly as we hear of the voices, and see the actions, of divisiveness and hatred from many quarters.”

Pilgrims accompany Korean women’s struggles with fallout of 70-year war

Pilgrims accompany Korean women’s struggles with fallout of 70-year war

A Women of Faith Pilgrim Team gathered, some in person and others virtually, in South Korea from 13-15 July. They were there to listen and accompany Korean church women as they called for an end to patriarchy – manifested in the Japanese colonization of Korea and establishment of ‘comfort women’ and also in the Korean War — and to the resulting pain and injustice that remains a grim daily reality for many today.

WCC stands with United Church of Christ in the Philippines in defending human rights of arrested pastor

WCC stands with United Church of Christ in the Philippines in defending human rights of arrested pastor

As Rev. Dan San Andres Sr, known as a defender of human rights, was arrested a week after the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act was passed in the Philippines, the World Council of Churches (WCC) joined with the bishops of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in calling for justice.

Related Documents

Freedom of religion or belief - A guide to biblical insights

The World Council of Churches has published “Freedom of Religion or Belief: A guide to biblical insights or Belief,” as part of online training offered through the Freedom of Religion or Belief Learning Platform. The guide offers reflections and focus questions on how the Bible speaks of human rights, human dignity, universalism and other subjects. It also explores the Bible and the concept of justice, as well as the importance of the freedom to have, choose, change, or leave a religion.