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International affairs, peace
and human security

  • UN liaison office in New York

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  • History
  • 2004 WCC UN Advocacy Week
  • 2003 WCC UN Advocacy Week

  • WCC United Nations liaison office
    Work on impunity

    Lately, the international community has placed an amplified focus on the issue of impunity, i.e. states failing in their obligations to investigate, try and sentence those responsible for human rights violations, and overlooking the right of victims and their families to know the truth and have their rights restored.

    Conflicts and military repression in many parts of the world cause harassment and persecution of opposition political parties, movements and individuals.

    Impunity breeds personal and social harm, divisions, political instability and a deep sense of fundamental injustice reaching across generations.

    International Criminal Court in The Hague

    SEE ALSO: WCC/International Affairs work on impunity

    The granting of impunity to those who have committed grave crimes against humanity, the failure of societies or of the international community to seek and admit the truth about these crimes, and the fuelled resentment of offended parties are often at the root of conflict.

    Impunity is one of the most serious problems that the human community at large must face. Churches around the world have increasingly seen the need to understand the dynamics of impunity better in order to become true agents of reconciliation. In this context, the International Criminal Court (ICC) plays a critical role in investigating and bringing to justice individuals who commit serious violations of human rights including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

    WCC actions to date
    Since 1993, the WCC has been engaged in the Programme on Impunity, Truth, Justice and Reconciliation to study and help the churches act upon these trends. From 2001, the programme has been closely linked to the Ecumenical Decade to Overcome Violence, as one of the WCC's contributions to this effort. The WCC UN Liaison office is an active member of the Faith and Ethics caucus for the International Criminal Court, a coalition of religious and interfaith NGOs that advocates for an effective and just ICC, and distributes information on the Court’s work to respective religious, ecumenical, and ethical communities.

    The permanent representative at the UN Liaison Office is a member of steering Committee of the Faith and Ethics Network of the ICC. The WCC also has good working relationships with several Truth and Reconciliation Commissions including those in South Africa and Sierra Leone.

    WCC UN Liaison Office aims

    • contribute to the moral, ethical and religious considerations surrounding the ICC
    • raise awareness at the grassroots level and helping to shape the IC
    • strengthen the links with sectors of the international community involved in issues relating to impunity
    • provide a platform for reflecting on the moral, political and ethical dimensions of impunity.

    Work methods

    • promote the ICC by disseminating information
    • advocate for the ratification of the Court
    • participate in meetings and events that the Faith and Ethics caucus organises, with a view to bringing these issues to the attention of a wider audience
    • encourage NGO partnerships with ICC to further the responsibility, rehabilitation of victims and society
    • monitor the relevant UN bodies, such as the Security Council and the General Assembly’s Third and Sixth Committee.

    UNLO network
    Faith and Ethics caucus for the International Criminal Court
    Ecumenical Working Group








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