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Xenophobia and populism: from May 21st to 24th, Vatican and WCC promoting a world conference

A world conference against increasing xenophobia and populism. It will be held in a place to be defined from May 21st to 24th next year, and it will be jointly promoted by the Vatican Ministry of the Service for Integral Human Development and the World Council of Churches, in partnership with the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians. The purpose of the Conference, as explained to SIR by mgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé, secretary of the Vatican Ministry, is to take inspiration from the experiences and initiatives in acceptance and charity promoted by the Churches to come up with effective ideas for the international community, the states, then the political leaders. Actually, the Conference will end with a Final Message and an appeal to international cooperation, that it may bring together states, religions and churches. This came to the fore at the meeting of reflection and work that ended in Rome today and which was attended by the members of the Vatican Ministry, WCC and several church leaders, in the run-up to the world conference. The subject of the conference – pastor Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, explains –unfortunately raises an extremely pressing matter: increasing populism; xenophobia and racism, stigmatisation and even actual violence against migrants. This can be found in Europe, in North America, in many places across the world. Ideologies that exploit people’s fears are gaining ground, promoting policies based on closing the doors, closing the borders. A movement that is certainly not new in history but that is getting stronger now. So we are wondering why this is happening and above all what the Churches, together, can do to fight such attitude and promote new practices, based on the values of respect for the dignity of every human being and on the possibility to live together”.

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