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Symposium: “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action”

Reaching out to the victims of armed conflicts: the special role of faith-based humanitarian actors.

The Sovereign Order of Malta is organising a Symposium entitled “Religions together for humanitarian action”. Policy makers, religious leaders and academics will gather together in the UN Geneva Headquarters on May 27th for a day-long debate intended to tackle sensitive issues ahead of the 2016 World Humanitarian summit – an initiative of UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon. These will include the contribution of faith based organisations in war theatres and the role of religions in promoting reconciliation and building resilience. With its almost sixty years of experience in humanitarian aid, Malteser International will be heavily involved in the orientation of the symposium’s content – providing practical examples from the field and contributions to the debate.

The Symposium will seek to explore the connection between religion and conflict and will particularly focus on how religions and faith-based humanitarian actors could better assist and protect people affected by conflict as well as promoting a dynamic of restraint in the use of violence and facilitating reconciliation.

A hundred years ago 90% of war victims were military, today, 90% are civilians. The increasingly difficult task of providing humanitarian relief to the victims of armed conflicts and protecting the most vulnerable is at the heart of the mission of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Faith-based institutions are often the first on the spot and the last to leave conflict zones, thus enjoying the trust of local communities. However, the values of religion - which are key to reconciliation and peace - are too often manipulated for the pursuit of power and profit through violence.


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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