A Newsletter of the Ecumenical Network of churches in solidarity with people compelled by sever political, economic and social conditions to leave their land and culture.

Uprooted People
Issue 7 february 1999


Network News

Assembly Highlights

Padare Sessions

WCC's Assembly speaks out on public issues

Resources and short news items

Contact WCC International Affairs, Peace & Human Security staff

Uprooted people are those who are forced to leave their communities: those who flee because of persecution and war, those who are forcibly discplaced because of environmental devastation and those who are compelled to seek sustenance in a city or abroad because they cannot survive at home... World Council of Churches policy statement, 1995.

New Beginnings

It is a time of new beginnings at the World Council of Churches. In addition to the annual sense of renewal that comes with beginning a new year, the Council -- after years of discussions and documents -- is implementing a new structure. Finally, after all the plans and discussions, staff are meeting in new configurations and seeing new possibilities of working collaboratively. Moreover, staff who spent months preparing for the 8th Assembly held in Harare last December have recovered from their exhaustion and are ready to engage anew in the programmatic work of the Council. The Assembly provided some clear directions for the future work of the Council which need to be analyzed and planned so that they can be translated into programmatic work. It is an exciting time to be in Geneva -- especially for a not-so-new newcomer, like myself, who has just joined the staff of the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team.

I have often lamented the overuse of the word "challenge" by the churches and the ecumenical movement. Sometimes the word is used as a synonym for "obstacle" as when we say that "we face the challenge of finding resources for our programmes." But the word "challenge" can also convey a sense of excitement at new possibilities and WCC staff working with uprooted people feel that sense of excitement as we consider our programmatic plans for the coming years.

Perhaps the first challenge we face is to make the new structure work and to build a strong International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team where the churches' ministry with uprooted people is strengthened and supported. Although staff resources have decreased, we see new possibilities for working more creatively and collaboratively with our colleagues in the team. The commitment of the World Council of Churches to continuing its work with uprooted people is solid. We hope to build on the strong 1995 statement on uprooted people and the mobilization of churches during the 1997 ecumenical year of churches in solidarity with uprooted people in moving forward.

We also face the challenge of finding more effective ways of supporting local churches in different contexts who are struggling to work with uprooted people in ever more difficult circumstances. As witnessed in some of the Padare sessions at the WCC 8th Assembly, churches everywhere sometimes face difficulty in raising the awareness of their congregations - and mobilizing them to act. Working with refugees, migrants and internally displaced people is often politically unpopular and churches, like the communities in which they are based, are not immune from anti-foreigner sentiment. Sometimes congregations explain their lack of engagement with uprooted people in their communities by pointing to church agency or Christian council programmes. While specialized agencies certainly have a role to play in this work, the ministry of "responding to strangers" needs to be carried out by congregations and individual Christians.

We face the challenge of supporting the regional and global networks of churches working with uprooted people which have developed over the past decade. In most regions, these are strong and vital mechanisms for sharing information, developing common advocacy positions, and increasing feelings of solidarity among groups which often feel marginalized and isolated. But in some regions there are difficulties with resources and with institutional relationships which need support from Geneva. The importance of networking and the crucial role played by regional ecumenical organizations was affirmed by the WCC Assembly. The Assembly also highlighted the importance of working to change unjust international structures -- such as the crushing international debt experienced by many countries -- which cause poverty, conflict, and displacement. The strong statement on human rights adopted by the Assembly contains a specific call to the churches to engage in advocacy to defend the human rights of uprooted people. We thus face the twin challenges of becoming more effective advocates at addressing the causes of uprooting as well as affirming the basic human rights of uprooted people. As the Assembly statement on human rights says, "The WCC and its member churches have long been at the forefront of advocacy for improved international standards for the protection of the human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and should continue to share resources and to provide global, regional, and local networking to show vital solidarity. We urge the churches to continue their cooperation with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, and to seek further improvements in international standards and their implementation, particularly in respect of the protection of the rights of internally displaced persons, where few enforceable norms currently exist."

The challenges facing the Council in its work with uprooted people are many. But we are confident that the directions given by the Assembly and the potential of the new structure to enable staff to work more collegially and effectively will enable us to see the challenges as "opportunities" rather than "obstacles".

Finally, we wish our former colleagues -- Helene Moussa and Patrick Taran -- the very best as they pursue new endeavors. Their work over the past 6-8 years has left a very strong foundation for the Council"s continuing work with uprooted people.

Elizabeth Ferris

Network News

New International Affairs, Peace & Human Security Structure at WCC
After several years of extensive discussions and wide-ranging consultations, a new structure for the work of the World Council of Churches came into being in early January 1999. The creation of a new International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team at WCC represents an effort to re-conceptualize the Council"s work with uprooted people by bringing together staff formerly working in the Churches Commission on International Affairs (CCIA) and Refugee and Migration Service (RMS). The formation of this International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team means that WCC's work with uprooted people will be more closely linked to the Council's ongoing efforts to address human rights violations and other causes which force people to leave their communities.

This is a natural change. For the past decade, the Refugee and Migration Service has placed more emphasis on advocacy. Probably every consultation and meeting organized by RMS over the last ten years has included a call for the churches to address the root causes of forced displacement. Through the new International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team, there are increased opportunities for WCC to support the churches' efforts to address root causes and to take the initiative in drawing the connections. And the connections are obvious. As Melaku Kifle says, "in Africa, the proliferation of small weapons has led to more violent conflicts, to conflicts where civilians are increasingly the victims and to the uprooting of large numbers of people. It will be good to work closely with colleagues who are working to reduce the trade in small arms."

Interview with Dwain Epps
coordinator of the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team
What do you see as the strengths of the new IR configuration?

We are excited about the joining together of two "historical streams" of the ecumenical movement in the new structure of the WCC, restoring, in fact, the intimate collaboration which existed in the years before and after the WCC was formed in Amsterdam. By bringing them together we strengthen both our will and capacity to build the ecumenical agenda on international relations upon realities as the churches and our partners experience them on the ground. We do this with a staff of women and men of remarkable experience, competence and diversity of confessional, regional and professional backgrounds. All are committed to serving those concretely engaged for human rights, justice and peace in their own places. In coming together, we believe we can strengthen our ability in address the root causes of uprootedness, and to help strengthen the capacity of the networks, the churches and related agencies to shape and implement coherent strategies for advocacy at all levels.

How will the team address uprooted people's issues in the future?

Rather than to take the approach of one team absorbing the other, the staffs of International Affairs (formerly in Unit III) and of Uprooted People (formerly in Unit IV) entered early on into a planning exercise which analyzed our respective tasks and priorities, and sought to identify points of complementarity. Even we were surprised to discover how close we were in spirit, concept and content. The result is that we have built the two teams into one another, creating what we think is a creative new programmatic whole. Each staff person will carry responsibility for a particular programme area: human rights; peace, disarmament and conflict resolution; impunity, truth and reconciliation; migration; refugees and UN relations. Each will also carry an international affairs portfolio related to a particular region of the world.

Among the seven programme staff of the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team, two will carry primary responsibility for the Council"s work with uprooted people: Melaku Kifle and Elizabeth Ferris. But the other five programme staff will follow issues related to uprooted people in the regions for which they carry responsibilities. Salpy Eskidjian will work with the Middle East, Clement John with Asia and the Pacific, Geneviève Jacques with Latin America, Dwain Epps with North America while Melaku Kifle will follow Africa and Elizabeth Ferris, Europe. Gail Lerner, WCC UN representative in New York, liaises with UN headquarters, and Mariette Grange will work with the team's communications and will provide liaison with international organizations in Geneva.

What plans are there for the global and regional networks on uprooted people?

The two staff working with uprooted programme portfolios will provide overall coordination for the team in that area, but each member of the team will relate to and support regional networks on uprooted people in their assigned geographical areas. The Global Ecumenical Network (GEN) will be maintained, as will the regional networks. We are taking particular steps to improve our own capacity in relationship to the project aspects of the networks. So by these means, we hope to be able to continue and strengthen work on the main emphases of the policy statement on uprooted people. But it will be necessary to establish clear priorities, and these must be set through dialogue among and with the various networks, taking care to place all our work within an integrated framework where analysis, advocacy and action are done together, using the resources available in the networks, among the partners, in the IR team and in other teams in the Council.

How will the new structure deal with the reality of diminished staff? The key is always, prioritize! We are now in the process of refining the programme and budget of the team for 1999 and making a three year projection. The Assembly has given us some broad guidance, and we shall try to follow it. Once each of the pieces are in place, we will do a "work load" analysis, and try to pare the programme down to one which we can reasonably expect to implement. But prioritization is not enough. Working methods and styles of work need to be reviewed and changed. Some work will have to be decentralized, seconded staff will have to be used in creative ways, and advisory bodies -- in our case, the GEN and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) -- will have to become "working" groups as well. We are re-learning the lesson: the World Council of Churches is not just the Geneva staff. It is churches, ecumenical organizations, networks, agencies and committed individuals working together toward shared goals and with a common vision. If we adjust a bit the metaphor of the ecumenical boat to that of an ecumenical flotilla, when we look around, we see that all the boats are dangerously overloaded, with severely diminished crews, and running on severely depleted fuel tanks. We cannot simply "out-source" or "de-centralize." Rather, we need to expand our concept of "team" to take in all those willing to come aboard, to listen to one another, to think and plan and dream together, and to support one another. The seas are rough, but we can and must face them, together.

What hopes do you have for the new structure?

I am very optimistic. The team-based structure within the framework of a unified Council programme and budget should clarify lines of administration and policy development, add efficiency, and at the same time open up creative new ways to work across teams. Properly administered, the new structure will put the churches back at the center, clarify their programmatic connections with the Geneva staff, and involve them much more in the day-to-day shaping of programme, priority-setting, and cooperative approaches to implementation. I have always believed that the WCC is both a fellowship of churches, and the touchstone of frontier movements within the churches. Thus I am convinced that the dynamism and commitment of the networks are the key to the success of the new structure.

What's your initial assessment of the Assembly's impact on WCC programme?

We in Geneva are engaged in intensive assessment of the Assembly and of what it says to us about the future of our programmes. This "turning point" Assembly (as the Moderator put it in his report) did not give precise instructions or clear guidelines for future programme. Unlike earlier Assemblies, its "message" was not a clarion call to action in new spheres. But the strong recommitment of the churches to the WCC, to stay together, and to confront together the dramatic spiritual, social and political needs of the world today did come through clearly. And the Assembly had much to say about styles and modes of ecumenical action which we are studying carefully."

Where is the WCC headed now?" Without a pause, Epps responded, "Into the open sea!" Then he added, "But we sail with strong, favoring winds in the sails of a sound boat! It is up to us all to set the compass and to keep our hands together on the tiller!"

Assembly Highlights

The 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 3-14 December, was a glorious celebration of ecumenism. The rich cultural traditions of Africa enveloped the 5,000 participants. The beating of African drums provided a rich backdrop to daily worship and indeed to the entire Assembly proceedings. Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, addressed the assembly, issuing a sharp challenge to churches to address the inequities of the international debt regime. Bishop Paride Taban of Torit Diocese in Sudan made a passionate plea for the international community to demonstrate more political will to stop the slaughter in Southern Sudan.

The Assembly theme - "Turn to God, Rejoice in Hope" - was deepened by three major presentations and was the subject for intense work in small Bible study groups which met each morning.

Delegates to the Assembly struggled with questions of relations among member churches, particularly the Orthodox churches, and with the future of the ecumenical movement. The "Common Understanding and Vision" document, which had been the subject of intense consultations for several years, was approved by the Assembly, thus setting a course for the Council"s future directions. After considerable debate, the Assembly approved the creation of an Ecumenical Forum in which non-WCC member churches such as the Roman Catholic Church and many evangelical and Pentecostal churches will be able to participate. Although it is too early to predict the consequences of such an Ecumenical Forum, delegates hoped that its creation will allow new opportunities for a more inclusive ecumenical community.

The Assembly also sought to respond to the many crises in the world. Major public issue statements on human rights, child soldiers and Jerusalem were adopted by the Assembly as were statements on globalization and debt. An Assembly statement on Africa lifted up the on-going war in Sudan and called on churches to support efforts to bring peace to that country. Delegates to the Assembly approved a motion made by the floor to dedicate a decade, from 2000-2010, to working for a culture of non-violence and peace. The Programme Guidelines Committee issued a report charting future programmatic directions of the Council.

The Padare - the marketplace of ideas and activities - was held in the center of the Assembly. While the Padare was flawed by logistical difficulties, the sessions were rich as participants from every corner of the globe shared their experiences. There were forty-two sessions organized on themes related to uprooted people - from sessions on global migration to work with uprooted people in Southern Africa to poetry readings by uprooted people from the new WCC publication, Stormy Seas we Brave. A glorious celebration of 50 years of ecumenical life was highlighted with the presence of Nelson Mandela who entered the Assembly hall to the accompaniment of South African gospel music and who poignantly thanked the churches for their steadfast work in support of human rights in Africa.

And on the sidelines of the official Assembly sessions were thousands of meetings - some chance encounters over meals, some denominational meetings, many issue-oriented meetings. The opportunity to work together, to share meals together, and to try to find one's way together across the University of Zimbabwe"s sprawling campus, was perhaps the richest legacy of the Assembly for most participants.

Padare sessions

The Global Network on Uprooted People organized many sessions - 42 - on issues related to uprooted people. One session, entitled "Asking the Hard Questions" included as panelists Vanessa Griffin from Asia, Shirley DeWolf from Zimbabwe, Guillermo Kerber from Uruguay, Simote Vea from Tonga and Michael Bubik from Austria. Although the regional contexts were very different, panelists talked about the common challenge of mobilizing churches to act on behalf of the uprooted in climates of decreasing receptivity to foreigners. As the interaction between political and economic motivations for flight become more complex, it also becomes more difficult to explain to churches. And it is difficult to mobilize churches to address the root causes of uprooting.

A session on "Telling the Stories," moderated by Richard Parkins from the United States, was based on a skit which illustrated some of the dilemmas for ordinary church people to become involved in working with uprooted people. One of the skit's characters, Mr. Average Churchgoer, challenged the emphasis on awareness-raising, asking "what good does it do to become more aware of suffering if there's nothing you can do about it?" Other characters lifted up the tension between responding to uprooted people's needs in foreign countries and at home, the complexity of trying to address root causes when paramilitary groups are primarily responsible for uprooting, and the difficulties of reaching out to uprooted people in one's own community. (Copies of the skit are available from the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team at WCC.)

Women and conflict-resolution was the subject of another Padare session and included presentations by women from Afghanistan and Bougainville. The Afghan woman described the harsh conditions in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, highlighting the lack of food and medical services. She recounted the story of an Afghan woman in Kabual who decided to take her seven children to Pakistan after her husband died. But conditions in the camps were so desperate that she ended up poisoning her children and herself. Women from Bougainville explained that the conflict in their country had its roots in economic interests with conflicts between the state's desire to continue mining operations while local groups suffered the environmental degradation and economic distortions of the mine. They described the harsh years of the 10-year blockade and the fighting in Bougainville on all people but particularly on women and children. But the women also emphasized the important role they had played in this matrilineal society in bringing the conflicting parties to the bargaining table to implement a ceasefire in April 1998 and a plan for peace.

WCC's Assembly speaks out on Public Issues

Click to the texts of the full statements and other Assembly documents.


The WCC statement on the status of Jerusalem begins with the recognition that "the WCC has repeatedly addressed the question of Jerusalem since 1948. Jerusalem has been at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict since the time of the League of Nations Mandate and Partition, yet the issue of Jerusalem has consistently been postponed to 'future negotiations' due to the complexities of the issues involved. The inability of the parties and of the international community to settle this question has left Jerusalem vulnerable to a series of unilateral actions which have radically altered its geography and demography in a way which violates especially the rights of Palestinians and poses a continuing threat to peace and security of all the inhabitants of the city and the region."

The statement reiterates the significance of the continuing presence of Christian communities in Jerusalem, and raises a number of important issues to be considered in any final agreement on the status of Jerusalem. In this respect, the Assembly adopted the following principles:

The peaceful settlement of the territorial claims of Palestinians and Israelis should respect the holiness and wholeness of the city.

  • Access to the Holy Places, the religious buildings and sites should be free, and freedom of worship must be secured for people of all faiths.
  • The rights of all communities of Jerusalem to carry out their own religious, educational and social activities must be guaranteed.
  • Free access to Jerusalem must be assured and protected for the Palestinian people.
  • Jerusalem must remain an open and inclusive city.
  • Jerusalem must be a shared city in terms of sovereignty and citizenship.
  • The provisions of the IV. Geneva Convention must be honored with respect to the rights of Palestinians to property, buildings and residency; the prohibition of effecting changes in population in occupied territories; and the prohibition of changes in geographical boundaries, annexation of territory, or settlement which would change the religious, cultural or historical character of Jerusalem without the agreement of the parties concerned and the international community.
Click here for full Assembly statement on Jerusalem

Child Soldiers

The Assembly adopted a statement on child soldiers, drawing attention to the "hundreds of thousands of children under the age of eighteen, girls as well as boys, who are enrolled today in national or irregular armed forces around the world." The statement condemns any use of children in warfare and calls on its member churches to:

  • call for an immediate moratorium on the recruitment and participation of children as soldiers and the demobilization of existing child soldiers;
  • assist those engaged in the rehabilitation, social reintegration and reconciliation of former child soldiers, taking particular account of the needs of former girl soldiers;
  • assist those engaged in the rehabilitation, social reintegration and reconciliation of former child soldiers, taking particular account of the needs of former girl soldiers;
  • work to prevent the compulsory or voluntary recruitment or re-recruitment of children as soldiers in national armies or irregular armed forces or groups;
  • promote the establishment of international standards to this effect, in particular the adoption of an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child raising the minimum age from 15 to 18 years for all forms of recruitment and participation in hostilities,
  • urge their national governments to adopt and apply such standards in their own national legislation.
Click here for full Assembly statement on child soldiers

Reconstructing Africa

Participants in the Assembly were continually reminded of the resources and problems facing Africa - the continent in which they were meeting. A special plenary session on Africa the Assembly "heard, in striking and powerful form, the voices of the people of Africa, including not only cries of pain and suffering, but also testimonies of struggle, faith and hope".

The Assembly statement in response to the African plenary begins with the affirmation that "the holding of the World Council of Churches Eighth Assembly on African soil gives us the opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the African dream and agenda for the twenty-first century. It is imperative that effective change should occur on the African continent towards the attainment of lasting peace, the enabling of people to participate in making the decisions that affect their lives, and respect for the integrity of the human person and community."

The Assembly encouraged councils of churches in Africa and the All Africa Council of Churches to seek new ways of working together "so as to provide moral leadership, articulate a new vision for Africa, and motivate and mobilize Africans to participate in the building of just and sustainable communities". The statement encouraged member churches "to engage in dialogue with their governments and to advocate with the United Nations and other bodies to promoting reconstruction and reconciliation in Africa". The Assembly indicated its whole-hearted support for the commitment, undertaken before God by the leaders and representatives of member churches of Africa at the Assembly to:

  1. continue the unfinished task of working towards the transformation of their social, political and economic systems and institutions with a view to creating a just society in which women and young people have opportunity for full participation.

  2. seek and pursue peace and reconciliation for their people and communities;

  3. work towards the establishment of appropriate ethical values in work, governance and management, and good stewardship;

  4. do everything in their means to help contain and overcome the scourge of HIV/AIDS;

  5. affirm the right of African children to hope for a bright future which, with all strength and ability, they will help to create.
The Assembly response to the plenary on Africa included a statement on Sudan which recognized the suffering that has taken place in that country since the breakdown of the 1972 peace agreement in the early 1980s. "The latest outbreak of conflict, which continues unabated, has claimed over a million lives, has displaced countless numbers both internally and outside the borders of the country and has forced the majority remaining to subsist with outside humanitarian assistance. Moreover, the economy in the South has been devastated and is virtually bankrupt. But compounding an already desperate situation, the area was hit by famine and starvation." The statement notes and encourages the work of the All Africa Conference of Churches, member churches and aid agencies in responding to the conflict. " The statement notes that AACC is convinced that the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) peace process is the best hope for achieving the objective of durable peace in the country and calls on the international community to take all necessary steps to revive and strengthen the IGAD peace process.

Click here for full Assembly statement in response to the Africa plenary

Let the Trumpet Sound: a Jubilee Call to End the Stranglehold of Debt on Impoverished Peoples

The theme of debt cancellation was central to the 8th Assembly with its emphasis on the Jubilee. Padare sessions were organized and discussions of Africa frequently included a call for debt relief for countries burdened by pressures to repay enormous - unpayable - foreign debt (often taken on by previous undemocratic regimes.) As the Assembly statement notes "Through the Sabbath-Jubilee tradition, the Hebrew and Christian scriptures offer a critical mandate for periodically overcoming the structural injustice and poverty, and for restoring right relationships... The Sabbath-Jubilee commandment is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. Debt bondage by the poorest countries to western governments and creditors is today's new slavery. The accelerating concentration of wealth for a few in the richest countries and the devastating decline in living standards in the poorest countries call for correction along the lines of the ancient Sabbath and Jubilee cycles. The social, political, and ecological costs of the debt crisis can no longer be tolerated and must be redressed. Only once we have implemented the Sabbath-Jubilee mandate, can we turn to God and rejoice in hope.'"

In their statement, the Assembly affirmed that:

  1. Cancelling the debt of impoverished countries and addressing the devastating cycle of debt accumulation are matters of urgency.

  2. The basic human needs and rights of individuals and communities and the protection of the environment should take precedence over debt repayment.

  3. New structures and mechanisms, involving participation and dialogue between creditors and debtors, are critically needed.

  4. Churches can play a powerful role in providing solutions to the debt crisis, particularly in the area of building partnerships.

The Assembly called on member churches and the ecumenical movement to work for:

  1. Debt cancellation for severely indebted, impoverished countries to enable them to enter the new millenium with a fresh start;

  2. Substantial debt reduction for severely indebted middle-income countries within the same time frame.

  3. Participation by civil society in deciding and monitoring how funds made available by debt cancellation should be used to restore social and ecological damage

  4. Establishment of an independent, transparent arbitration process for debt cancellation, and ethical lending and borrowing policies to prevent future recurrence of the debt crisis;

  5. Advocate for ethical governance in countries to eradicate corruption;

  6. Be prepared to offer full support to the impoverished people of the indebted nations if they cannot service their debts and suffer sanctions as a consequence.

Finally, the Assembly called on the leaders of the G8 Nations to recognize the urgent need to cancel the debts of the poorest countries, substantially reduce the debts of the middle income countries, introduce a new, independent and transparent arbitration process for negotiatign and agreeing on debt cancellation; accept that tough conditions should be imposed on debtor governments, but that these conditions must not be a prerequisite for debt cancellation; use their powers to ensure that funds illegitimately transferred to secret foreign bank accounts are returned to debtor nations; and engage, in consultation with civil society, in a process of global economic reform toward a just distribution of wealth and preventing new cycles of debt.

Click here for full Assembly statement on international debt

Resources and short news items

The annual meeting of the Global Ecumenical Network (GEN) will be held in Geneva from 21 to 23 June 1999. The meeting is intended to enable representatives of the regional networks to come together to share experiences from their regions and to work together to develop common advocacy strategies. It will also provide an opportunity for the network to get to know other members of the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team.

The European Churches Working Group on Asylum and Refugees met from 25-28 February to assess developments in Europe and to chart the future work of the working group. The meeting was held in tandem with the Churches Commission on Migration in Europe and with the Conference of European Churches' Working Group on Racism and Xenophobia.

Several meetings will be held in the next few months in Africa as the regional working groups plan their future activities. The East African working group will meet in Kampala, Uganda from 8-10 March while the Southern African working group will meet from 13-17 April in Manzini, Swaziland and the West African working group will meet in Togo from 20-23 April. The continental meeting for Africa will be held in Mutare, Zimbabwe from 18-20 May.

UNHCR will hold a meeting on "Strengthening Collaboration between UNHCR and Humanitarian and Human Rights NGOs in Support of the International Refugee Protection System" from 11-12 March in New York with the support of the Council on Foreign Relations.

UNHCR's Standing Committee will meet three times in 1999. The first meeting was held from 9-11 February; the 28 June-1 July meeting will focus on Europe, the Former Yugoslavia and the Americas as well as the Note on International Protection, Detention and Family Protection; the 27-30 September meeting will concentrate on Asia and Oceania, Refugee Women and the social and economic impact of refugee flows on host countries.

The annual meetings of the UNHCR Executive Committee will be held in Geneva from 4-8 October with the UNHCR-NGO Pre-ExComm consultation will be held from 29 September-1 October. There will be an informal meeting for partner representatives organized during this week.

Stormy Seas We Brave, a collection of poetry and essays by uprooted people has been published by the World Council of Churches and is available for SF29 from WCC Publications Department, PO Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.

Recent publications of the Commission of the Churches in International Affairs include working papers on Microdisarmament and Human Rights. These are available from the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team, WCC, Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland.

Anti-Slavery International has published a new report entitled Debt Bondage which provides a useful overview of the situation of bonded labour. Available from: Anti-Slavery International, Thomas Clarkson House, The Stableyard, Broomgrove Road, London SW9 9TL, UK (e-mail: antislavery@gn.apc.org.)

The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (4 M”lwaldplatz 4/3, A-1040 Vienna, e-mail: anis.bajirektarevic@icmpd.org) has published "State Communities of Southern Slavs: Constitutions, Constitutional Laws and Constitutional Acts 1918 - 1998".

The Refugee Studies Programme at Oxford University has announced its 1999 International Summer School in Forced Migration to be held at Oxford, UK from 12-30 July 1999. For further information or to enquire about their programme of Visiting Fellowships, contact: Refugee Studies Programme, Queen Elizabeth House, 21 St Giles, Oxford OX1 3LA, UK (e-mail: rsp@qeh.ox.ac.uk).

Population Distribution and Migration is a new publication which includes the proceedings of the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on Population, Distribution and Migration in 1993 which was convened in preparation for the International Conference on Population and Development. World Population Monitoring 1997 has also been published and includes a wealth of information on global migration trends. (Both available from Director, Population Division, UN Secretariat, Rm. DC2-1950, New York, NY 10017 USA)

Contact the WCC International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team

E-mail addresses:
Dwain Epps, coordinator: dce@wcc-coe.org
Salpy Eskidjian: sej@wcc-coe.org
Elizabeth Ferris:egf@wcc-coe.org
Mariette Grange: mgm@wcc-coe.org
Geneviève Jacques: gej@wcc-coe.org
Clement John: cj@wcc-coe.org
Melaku Kifle: mk@wcc-coe.org
Gail Lerner: wccia@"undp.org

Uprooted People provides coverage of information and action relating to refugees, migrants and internally displaced people. It is published every three months by the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team of the World Council of Churches. Email us or write to us by post:

150 route de Ferney,
PO Box 2100
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Tel: (+41 22) 791 6111
Fax: (+41 22) 791 6122
e-mail: egf@wcc-coe.org
Editor: Elizabeth Ferris

Articles may be freely reproduced providing that acknowledgement is made to Uprooted People, the publication of the International Affairs, Peace & Human Security team, World Council of Churches.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) serves as the global forum for over 330 national Protestant and Orthodox member churches in over 100 countries. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member, though it works cooperatively with WCC.

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