Conference participants in Rome have condemned xenophobia and racism directed at refugees and migrants.

Leaders were called to the World Conference on Xenophobia, Racism, and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration, which met in Rome on Sept. 18-20. The gathering was sponsored by Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the World Council of Churches, with the support of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Agnes Aboum of the Anglican Church in Kenya, who attended in her role as moderator of WCC’s Central Committee, was joined by 200 global and regional experts on refugee and migrant issues as well as ecumenical, religious, and civil change-makers.

“The problem of populist nationalism inciting negative and violent responses to refugees and migrants appears in some way, everywhere,” Aboum said. “It threatens communities both in countries of reception and countries of origin.”

As the group met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Sept. 20, the pontiff commended the conference as a welcome sign of renewed cooperation between churches on issues of justice and human well-being and encouraged more such gatherings.

“Faced with the spread of new forms of xenophobia and racism, leaders of all religions also have an important mission: to spread among their faithful the principles and ethical values inscribed by God in the heart of man known as the natural law,” he said to the assembled conference at a Vatican reception.

Adapted from Julanne Clarke-Morris, who gave a presentation at the conference, writing for ACNS.

The conference’s message is available in English, French, and SpanishThe pope’s full text is available here.

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