Original Research

Assessment of barriers that prevent the integration of UNHCR and church responses to migration: An ecclesiological perspective

Christopher Magezi
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 56, No 1 | a2835 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v56i1.2835 | © 2022 Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 January 2022 | Published: 31 August 2022

About the author(s)

Christopher Magezi, Department of Missiology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

This article perceived the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a United Nations agency whose mandate is to safeguard refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. However, in discharging this mandate, the UNHCR involves many stakeholders, including churches. In focusing on the church, this article identified a number of barriers to the UNHCR-church integration in responding to the challenges faced by migrants, particularly refugees. In view of this background, this article aimed to provide a critical assessment of the barriers that prevent the integration of the UNHCR and church responses to migration, and consequently, offer recommendations from an ecclesiological perspective. As a literature-based study, this article reviewed literature on the proposed issue and discovered multiple barriers that hamper the UNHCR-church integration in responding to the challenges faced by migrants with a particular focus on refugees. Such barriers include legal, theological, financial, power inequality and the rotation of the UNHCR members. This article advanced recommendations to address the identified barriers; thus, enhance the UNHCR-church integration in responding to the challenges that refugees and other migrants are confronted with.

Contribution: The contribution of the article lay in identifying and discussing the barriers that hamper the UNHCR-church integration in responding to migration challenges, and making the ecclesiological recommendations that ensued from that discussion.


Keywords

church; migrants’ challenges; refugees; UNHCR; barriers; ecclesiological perspective; migration crisis

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