In 2019, Open Doors launched the See.Change. campaign, which seeks to recognise the double vulnerability of persecuted Christian women. Over 16,000 of you signed the Handmade Petition to declare that these women are seen and loved! And now there has been an exciting new development.
Exactly one year on from the presentation of the Handmade Petition in Westminster Abbey, the UK government Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative (PSVI) team has launched a ‘Declaration of Humanity’. This is good news, and Open Doors UK & Ireland have already signed up!
Lord Ahmad, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on PSVI, says: “I affirm our unwavering commitment of promoting freedom of religion or belief for all and for preventing sexual violence. It is a tragic truth that women and girls from religious minorities often suffer. Why? Because of their gender, or indeed their faith. This must end… With your support, and our collective efforts, I believe we can make a difference.”
You've helped women like Naomi from Nigeria to heal from their trauma
This declaration interweaves the intersection between freedom of religion or belief and gender-based sexual violence. It calls religious leaders to use their platform to speak out for women from religious minorities who have experienced sexual violence.
They are asked to do this in two ways:
By including religious leaders in this way, the declaration also emphasises the incredible role local faith leaders play in bringing healing and support to survivors of sexual violence. The Nigerian trauma centre run by Open Doors local partners is one such example, as Naomi's picture above testifies.
And indeed, with your support, we are already seeing a difference. There is much more to be done, but this is an encouraging milestone.
Lord Jesus, thank You for this exciting step towards ending suffering for the many women and girls who experience violence, both because of their gender and their faith. Please let this initiative bear fruit, that these women will feel seen, heard, and loved, and see tangible change as a result.
You can ask your MP to attend the World Watch List launch on 13 January 2021. It's a crucial opportunity for decision makers to hear first-hand from the persecuted church - you can make a real difference by getting in touch.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.