By: Sr Maria de Lurdes Lodi Rissini
SACBC Migrants and Refugees Office – Co-ordinator
The SACBC Liaison Bishop for Migrants and Refugees, Archbishop Buti Tlhagale OMI of Archdiocese of Johannesburg, attended the virtual inaugural meeting of the Multi-Religious Council of Leaders on Tuesday 13th April 2021. His Grace was invited by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to be a member of Multi-Religious Council of Leaders and the UNHCR’s high level supporter. The invitation came after a constructive collaboration and networking of the Catholic Church through different stakeholders to the UNHCR.
His Grace Archbishop Tlhagale has accepted to be a member of the Multi-Religious Council of Leaders. The Council was established by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency in cooperation with Religions for Peace. The Council consists of more than 20 religious and spiritual leaders representing the world’s diverse faith traditions and experience in building a culture of peace that protects the most vulnerable. The purpose to have a Multi-Religious Council of Leaders is to strengthen efforts to address the root causes of conflict and displacement, and in supporting peacebuilding, inclusivity and reconciliation.
During the virtual meeting of the Multi-Religious Council of Leaders, the leaders made individual commitments in the promotion of peace, and expressed their commitment of support to the forcibly displaced people in their respective countries and regions. His Grace Archbishop Buti Tlhagale said: “If religious leaders use their platforms to promote language that supports protecting, welcoming and integrating, it will raise awareness in communities of the moral obligation to welcome and protect”.
The Council members’ mandate extends until the second Global Refugee Forum in 2023 and is expected that each member will present their achievements. Archbishop Tlhagale is very positive of this initiative and counts on the support and commitment of all stakeholders from the Southern African Region to make a difference to the lives of many Refugees and displaced person.