(Rome Italy). The World Conference on Xenophobia, Racism, and Populist Nationalism in the context of Global Migration took place at the Ergife Hotel in Rome from 18 to 20 September 2018.
It was jointly promoted by the “Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development” and the “World Council of Churches”, in collaboration with the “Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity”.
Convinced of the fundamental role of Churches in promoting a just and peaceful human society, the promoters of this International Conference brought together a large audience of civil, academic, religious, and ecumenical people from all over the world to reflect and seek together on how to respond to the growing xenophobia, racism, and populist nationalism in the face of migrants and refugees.
During these two days, in the context of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the participants denounced the deliberate manipulation and worsening of people’s fears, concerns, and insecurities regarding the negative impact of migration on their families, communities, and cultural identities, for the purpose of personal interest and electoral advantage.
Being aware of these challenges, members of the international community are negotiating a new Global Compact for safe, orderly, and regular migration (GCM), as well as a Global Compact on Refugees (GCR).
Overcoming xenophobia, racism, and populist nationalism is an ethical and pedagogical challenge for both churches and society. It is urgent to look for compassionate, constructive, and effective ways to eradicate these phenomena and to promote a culture of respect, solidarity, and social cohesion.
The Conference produced a Message with recommendations to support actors, local churches, groups, ecumenical bodies, and communities working to promote cohesion and coexistence, and to encourage initiatives that help change the narratives of both migrants and host communities.
Pope Francis greeted all the participants and issued a Message of encouragement to continue this cause: “We live in times when there seems to come back to life and spread feelings that many thought had been overcome. Feelings of suspicion, of fear, of contempt, and even of hatred towards individuals or groups judged different by reason of their ethnic, national, or religious affiliation and, as such, deemed not worthy enough to participate fully in the life of society”.