„CCME is an ecumenical organisation that serves the churches in their commitment to promote the vision of an inclusive community through advocating for an adequate policy for migrants, refugees and minority groups at European and national level. In the fulfilment of this mandate it is responding to the message of the Bible which insists on the dignity of every human being and to the understanding of unity as devoid of any distinction between strangers and natives.” (CCME mission statement)
Migration comprises an integral part of Europe’s history and an important dimension of its current reality. European citizens continue to emigrate from or move within Europe, while migrants and refugees from other parts of the world arrive to build new lives in a European home. Although there are challenges associated with the settlement of newcomers and longer-term residents in Europe, such individuals widely contribute to Europe’s economic well-being and serve to further enrich its diverse cultures.
Europe’s tradition of protecting human rights, integrating migrants and refugees and cherishing cultural diversity, however, is currently under strain. By vocation, churches are well positioned to promote mutual understanding and acceptance between various communities and to play an active part in the building of a just society of cultural, racial and religious diversity.
The Treaty of Amsterdam, which came into force in 1999, has conferred considerable powers on the European Union (EU) to act on immigration and related issues of integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, the EU has been given the competence to take measures against discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin and religion. This development demands an even closer co-operation of churches not only in the old and new member states of the European Union but also in the countries in the neighbourhood of the enlarged EU.
Founded in 1964, the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) is an organisation of churches and ecumenical councils from currently eighteen European countries.
Since the General Assembly of CCME in October 1999 in Järvenpää/Finland the mandate of CCME has been expanded to cover the whole area of migration and integration, refugees and asylum, and racism and xenophobia. CCME´ s work on uprooted people is part of the cooperation with the Conference of European Churches and the World Council of Churches.
CCME provides a space for churches and Christian agencies to share their experiences in the ministry among migrants, refugees, and minority ethnic persons. CCME is part of a wider ecumenical network of the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches. It participates in a network of NGOs throughout Europe and has launched the Migration News Sheet and the Migration Policy Group.
CCME maintains regular contacts with the European Commission, the European Parliament and Council of the European Union. CCME also holds official observer status with the Council of Europe (Strasbourg/F) and observes the Migration Committee of the Council of Ministers. This enables CCME to monitor European policy-making in the migration, integration and asylum spheres and to present the concerns of the churches to the relevant institutions.
CCME promotes the adoption and implementation of international standards such as the European Social Charter, the European Convention on the Protection of the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, and the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. CCME has also made specific proposals for the adoption of a European immigration policy and for equal treatment of European citizens and third-country nationals.
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