Addressing the challenges for a common vision of churches on human rights today, the international conference “Christian Perspectives on Human Dignity and Human Rights” will take place on 9-12 April in Wuppertal, Germany. Everyone is invited to follow the public session of the conference on 11 April, when a panel of the keynote speakers will bring together biblical, theological and practical perspectives on human dignity.
Organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), United Evangelical Mission (UEM) and Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the conference is part of a study process initiated in 2020, aiming to provide a space for ecumenical reflection on the relationship between human dignity and human rights from biblical, theological and victims’ perspectives. During the conference in Wuppertal, the preliminary results of the study process will be presented and discussed.
“Churches’ commitment to protection of human rights and solidarity with victims of human rights abuses should be renewed and strengthened, especially in the current global context of renewed conflict and deepening division,” says Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. “Strong ecumenical consensus on the fundamental moral principles undergirding international human rights law, especially non-discrimination and the universality and indivisibility of human rights, is crucial for WCC and our partners’ efforts for justice and peace and for the protection of human dignity worldwide.”
Rev. Ute Hedrich, EKD executive secretary, head of the Middle and Far East, Australia and Pacific Desk, notes: “In this time of troubles, in a time where, every hour, news is appearing about the violation of human rights in Ukraine, in other sometimes forgotten regions of war, where women have to face rejection of their rights of education, expression and life in dignity, I am deeply looking forward to the joint conference of WCC, UEM and EKD on Christian perspectives of human dignity and human rights.”
“We hope that churches today, when human rights are challenged as hardly seen before since their adoption in 1948, will reaffirm their commitment as an ecumenical fellowship to advocate for universal principles of human rights and multilateral systems of accountability in solidarity with victims all over this globe, whose human dignity and fundamental rights are disregarded and violated,” said Jochen Motte, UEM deputy general secretary.
The public session of the conference will take place on 11 April at 13.30 – 15.30, providing insights into the topics discussed at the conference. The livestream of the public session of the conference will be available on the WCC YouTube channel, accessible via https://www.oikoumene.org/live.
Speakers at the conference’s public session will include Natallia Vasilevich (Centre Ecumena, Belarus), Archbishop Angaelos (Coptic Orthodox Church), Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata (Zimbabwe Council of Churches), Dr Mathews George Chunakara (Christian Conference of Asia), Prof. Dr Heiner Bielefeldt (FAU, Germany), Rev. Ute Hedrich (EKD, Germany) and Peter Prove (CCIA, World Council of Churches).
Since the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, the ecumenical movement has actively promoted international human rights law as an instrument for protecting the God-given human dignity of every human being.
Churches and faith-based organizations associated with the WCC have for many decades advocated for the vulnerable and victims of human rights violations. In the current global context, escalating conflicts, divisions and discriminatory nationalism once again threaten security, human dignity and rights of communities and individuals around the world.