Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Guided by Humanitarian Principles

Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Guided by Humanitarian Principles

Article excerpt

Caritas Luxembourg is a member of the international network of Caritas Internationalis and inspired by Catholic Social Teaching. The organisation regards itself as non-discriminatory, committed to international humanitarian principles and respectful of culture and custom. The collaboration between Caritas Luxembourg and its main donor, the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, is based on the understanding that Caritas Luxembourg and its partner organisations around the world are professional, not-for-profit organisations respecting humanitarian standards and norms and will not use human or financial resources for proselytism of any kind. Caritas Luxembourg's partners contractually commit to respect humanitarian principles and standards, and Caritas Luxembourg invests considerable efforts in monitoring its partners' performance in all different fields.

Caritas Luxembourg works in Lebanon and Colombia with and through national Caritas groups and other local partners, which helps anchor it in the local context. Its partner Caritas Lebanon provided assistance to thousands of people during the civil war, regardless of their religion, and its current support for Syrian refugees confirms this disinterested organisational position.

The fact that Caritas is linked to a religion can sometimes play to its advantage. In Lebanon, migrant domestic workers seldom have permission to leave their place of employment. However, in a country which is deeply religious, employers will often make an exception for their employees to practise their religion. Many mistreated migrant domestic workers therefore gain access to Caritas through pastoral services, a mechanism less readily available to organisations having no confessional background.

In Colombia, the Colombian Bishops' Conference has been involved in negotiating and mediating peace processes in many roles, from observer to mediator, while always emphasising the importance of dialogue and reconciliation and addressing the socio-economic inequalities inherent to the conflict. The Church has also been able to build a certain level of trust with the different parties of the armed conflict, and this privileged position has repeatedly been used for facilitating dialogue between the parties, getting access to victims and preventing further violence. …

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