G20 Interfaith Summit Addresses Global Challenges

Global religious leaders convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 26 for the fifth annual G20 Interfaith Forum. These yearly forums shadow the annual international “Group of Twenty” (G20) Economic Summit and aim to strengthen the voice of the world’s faith communities in addressing global political, economic and social challenges.

IRLA Secretary General Dr. Ganoune Diop was a plenary speaker on the first day of the event and spoke about the plight of refugee and migrant children, a group that is exceptionally vulnerable to exploitation and denial of basic human rights. “Violence against children is an intolerance epidemic in contemporary society,” said Diop in an interview after the event. “And children on the move are among the most exposed of groups today. Many survive in poverty, without access to the dignity of education or work. Many are trafficked and denied the most basic of personal freedoms, including that of conscience or belief.”

In another presentation, Diop discussed the relationship between religious freedom and anti-discrimination law. Other participants represented a broad range of faith groups, including Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic communions, along with NGOs and advocacy organizations. In all, some 200 people took part in the forum.

The theme of this year’s event was “Religious Contributions for a Dignified Future” and topics ran the gamut from migration challenges to threats to the environment to issues of biotech and artificial intelligence. “It was an opportunity to bring to the fore this vital question of upholding and advancing human dignity for every individual, and to exchange ideas on how to conceive of human dignity in our new and rapidly changing world,” said Diop.

He says the G20 Interfaith Summit demonstrates the tremendous contribution that faith groups can make in addressing practical social issues. The three-day summit concluded with a series of “recommendations on priority issues that draw on interfaith insight and experience.” This document will soon be available on the event’s website: https://www.g20interfaith.org


BETTINA KRAUSE
| Communication Director
International Religious Liberty Association
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