Geneva, 16. “We are saying no to violence and discrimination without any ‘but’ or ‘maybe’. Our religious texts are a source of inspiration for just relationships.Through political instruments, like the UN system, we can connect the local with the global in our work for gender justice”. These words of Reverend Dr. Martin Junge, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, explain how, today more than ever, the affirmation of human rights and gender justice must be priorities for religious organizations. He spoke on the occasion of the training conference that recently took place at the Ecumenical Centre of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, which considered the role of the United Nations as an advocate in promoting women’s rights.
Fifty representatives from more than 30 nations participated in this initiative which was aimed at acquiring an understanding of how the United Nations works with political pressure to promote women’s rights. The training was promoted not only by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which hosted the event, but also by the Church of Sweden, Finn Church Aid and by Mission 21.
The group contributed to the efforts of the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW), and will meet again in the coming weeks to draft specific reports.
Reverend Junge emphasized the joint effort of religious organizations and CEDAW in realizing the 2030 “Sustainable Development Goals”, the fifth of which treats precisely gender equality. He stated that joint action is vital if the goals are to be realized. Cristina Rendón, the head of the program for women in the Church and society in the Lutheran World Federation, shares this view. “We appreciate the recognition the CEDAW committee has shown to this collective effort, since the partners have been able to sharpen the advocacy training program in a meaningful way, and respond with concrete advocacy tools to the major challenges faced by our churches and partners with regards to women’s human rights.”
St. Peter’s Square
Aug. 21, 2018
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