Human Rights Based on the Work of Anabaptist Richard Overton

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BWA General Council Resolution 2013.15

The General Council of the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Ocha Rios, Jamaica, July 1-6, 2013:

REMEMBERS that the Bible honors displaced persons, including the people of Israel who lived as exiles for forty years before entering Canaan (Exodus 13ff.), and who later experienced displacement, loss and trauma when exiled to Assyria and Babylon (e.g. 2 Kings 24:10-16), and the Lord Jesus Christ who, with his family, experienced life as a displaced person (Matthew 2:13-23);

RECALLS that Scripture collectively describes the church of Jesus Christ as “foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11), and that the early leaders of the church were oppressed, attacked, imprisoned and deported for their faith and because of the threat they were perceived to pose to the centers of religious and political power;

AFFIRMS that the Bible teaches followers of Jesus to welcome the stranger among them and to respond with love and justice to the plight of displaced persons, including those who are temporarily displaced, internally displaced, or forced out of their homeland into exile (Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:34-40; 25:35, 40; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:1-3);

ENCOURAGES Baptists to uphold the human rights of all people at all times, including the rights of displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees;

CALLS UPON governments to uphold universal human rights and develop just and compassionate policies with provisions for:

  • access to the protections afforded to displaced persons in international law including non– discrimination with respect to religious and ethnic identity;
  • access to adequate psychological, social, and medical care;
  • ensuring that displaced persons whose claim for refugee status has been denied are treated fairly while awaiting repatriation;

URGES governments to use peaceful means to address human rights violations in countries of origin and to pursue policies to strengthen regional cooperation and expand protection of displaced persons;

ENCOURAGES political leaders to demonstrate ethical and non-partisan leadership in policy debates on immigration and the global movement of displaced persons; and

ENCOURAGES Baptists to act as advocates for displaced persons and to develop plans to respond with compassion and hospitality to the needs of displaced persons.


Original Source Bibliography: Callam, Neville, editor. Baptist World Alliance 2013 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2013.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Neville Callam, ed., Baptist World Alliance 2013 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Falls Church, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 2013), pp. 150- 151.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 2013.16 Resolution on Displaced Persons;

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 2013.16).

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Since its formation in 1905, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the global Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.