Conference explores role of churches and Christian organizations in private sponsorship programs for refugees

Brussels, 27 September 2017 - A two-day conference in Brussels with the theme “The Role of Churches and Christian Organizations in Community-based Sponsorship Programmes of Refugees in Europe,” explored the benefits of sponsorship in engaging local communities, churches and faith-based actors at the grassroots level.

Panelists at the conference in BrusselsPhoto: Caritas Internationalis The event was organized by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe in cooperation with Caritas International in Belgium, and the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe.

As resettlement needs among refugees continue to grow, sponsorship programs are proving beneficial for long-term integration and their ability to provide more safe pathways to host countries in Europe and other parts of the world.

Representatives from churches, faith-based organizations and other groups discussed ways in which they can continue to make a tangible commitment at the local level, a commitment that, at its heart, involves private citizens making a difference and ultimately contributing to global response.

Many of the conference participants work at the parish level, and have effectively advocated within their communities to contribute to costs and volunteer needs.

Community-based sponsorship models are the practical fruition of a Christian call to care and respond to the needs of refugees, said ICMC Secretary General, Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo.

“As people of faith, our action is founded on a deep concern for the needs of refugees and migrants throughout the world,” he said. “Our many responses are based on the values and principles of our respective faith teachings and traditions. Yet our success rests squarely on our ability to partner with others – governments, civil society, local communities, and refugee families. I encourage everyone who is concerned about refugees to learn more about these excellent examples of partnerships.”


Areas addressed in the conference programme:

Presentation of the European Resettlement Network (ERN) and ICMC Europe research paper “Private sponsorship in Europe: Expanding complementary pathways for refugee”

”Humanitarian corridors in Italy: Advocacy, framework, implementation and next steps

Humanitarian corridors in France: A new partnership and framework for sponsorship

Community-based sponsorship in the UK

Federal State programs & Private Sponsorship of family members in Germany

Private Sponsorships of Refugees in Canada and the role of faith-based organizations and churches

For more information, please contact Magdalena Boehm at boehm (at)