A CALL TO ACTION
FOR ECOLOGICAL JUSTICE AND LASTING PEACE & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
FOR THE MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES IN ASIA
We are the laypeople, religious, priests and young activists who have gathered for the back to back fora with the overarching theme: “Peace, Sustainable Development and Ecological Justice with Special Focus on Migrants and Refugees in Asia” from 17th to 26th August 2016 in Suratthani, Thailand. This program aims to empower young lay leaders in Asia working on social ministries of justice and peace, human development, and ecology.
The Asian Youth Academy (AYA) forum highlights the importance of being in solidarity with the indigenous peoples, the migrants and the refugees’ suffering in poverty, helps us realize their inhumane living conditions that they suffer.
And the Asian Theology Forum (ATF) guides us to reflect on the 2030 Sustainable Development goals vis-à-vis the realities of ecological destruction and conflicts and wars. Both fora are organized by the Asian Lay Leaders (ALL) Forum and hosted by the Diocesan Social Action Center of Suratthani Catholic Foundation at the Pastoral Center of Suratthani Diocese.
We are a total of 66 participants who come from the countries of Cambodia, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA, and Vietnam. We all sympathize and to a certain extent, empathize with the plight of the suffering migrants, refugees and indigenous peoples.
We are alarmed that the ecological crisis, in its ugly form of environmental destruction, deforestation, climate change, has reached to an almost irreversible level. And we are troubled that this crisis has led to more conflicts and abuse of human dignity; has marginalized the already poor communities, and even more endangered the lives of the migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and Indigenous Peoples.
We call attention of the larger public especially the international and local humanitarian organizations, churches and religions through our network to bring justice and human dignity to them.
From knowledge based on experience we understand deeper about migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and ecology. We are inspired to launch the projects that benefit our communities. In other words, we make the commitment and act together to save our earth and to re-create eco-justice, to promote human dignity, and to reach our ultimate goal of living a sustainable life.
We embrace the upcoming challenges presented to us by the realities that we were made aware of. And we hope to put into practice what we have learned . We are diverse in our characters but we face common problems. Countries may have their differences in polices but we can be one in our quest for the common good. Thus, we call everyone to be with us in the following:
- We encourage all Asian Governments and Civil Society to respond to the sustainability and environmental issues through enactment of policies based on the sustainability principle.
- As the continent with diversity, Asia must be the place to live the various ways of dialogue; inter-religious dialogue, inter-country dialogue, inter-cultural dialogue for safeguarding human dignity and peace.
- We appeal to the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) to recognize and support the Asian young people as catalysts for church renewal and social change in Asia, and to empower them for this task.
- We also appeal to FABC to send a message to its member local bishops’ conferences asking to come up with a practical pastoral policy for the agendas of ecological sustainability, social change and church reform on each parish, diocese and national level.
- We commit ourselves to liberative engagements and actions in each country at the local and global levels.
26th August 2016, Suratthani, Thailand