By Claudia Florentin – ALC Notícias (ALC News)

From 19 to 21 August, ACT Alliance member organizations in South America held an International Seminar “Fundamentalisms, Democracy and Human Rights: faith in action for a full and dignified life in South America”. Sixty representatives attended, from religious organizations and churches in South America, members of the ACT Alliance and its allies, as well as from international ecumenical agencies. Together they issued a Declaration of Commitment.

Read the commitment in full:

It is with profound gratitude to the divine signs that come from work based on peace, that unite us in love and justice for the struggles and shared efforts that make sense in our South America, and based on the ecumenical spirit that move us to new challenges, that we assume with responsibility and hope the creation of FESUR, as a collective arena for action, which is generating new and better ideas and projects to respond to what is happening in the region with a living and challenging FAITH.

Our shared journey as FESUR is part of a long process, one important moment of which was the Global Conference on Latin America and the Caribbean in March 2019 in Guatemala. This was when members of the ACT Forums in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru agreed on the validity and importance of consolidating the ACT South America Ecumenical Forum (Fórum Ecumênico ACT Sulamericano: FESUR) as an instrument for action and advocacy in the socio-political context of a continent encircled by deepening structural inequality, a reduction in civil society participation arenas, increased violence, the murder of human rights defenders and the weakening of democracies.

Specific action is essential, with a work agenda defined by a context where growing religious, political and economic fundamentalisms erase and restrict the rights of already vulnerable sectors and communities: LGBTIQ+ groups, indigenous and quilombola peoples, the black population, children and adolescents, women from all ethnic groups and conditions, and millions of people criminalized because of their migrant status. This action is called on not only to contest the predominant narratives of fear, where “the other” is someone to fear and hate, but also to establish with certainty that any construction of a fairer and more compassionate society depends – at all times – on joint action from all social sectors and on the FAITH of our region.

We embrace the dream of a better continent, where:

The diversity of people and the plurality of their thinking are riches to be preserved.
Multiple inequalities are a challenge to be daily overcome.
Projects undertaken collectively and in community are a beacon for the path, but also a place to be shared, to walk with other people.
May our commitments be strong and lasting. Our voices firm and supportive. And our gestures those of love and hope.

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