In accordance to our motto “Inform, pray and act”, our communication work gives a voice to those who often no longer have one. We present the pressing issues of the Church locally and serve as advocates for persecuted Christians vis-à-vis other bodies, we create the Religious Freedom Report, and prepare public relations reports for print, social media and audiovisual products.
These materials are provided to the National Sections to forward to the local media, including radio and television stations. With information campaigns, publications, events and conferences, the 23 National Sections advocate the welfare of the Church around the world. As the “advocate of Christians”, we raise the voice for disadvantaged and persecuted Christians in many urgent cases.
We give persecuted Christians a voice.Mark von Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Freedom
We have already been able to galvanise key people in positions of responsibility with our plea for more humanity and charity. Much of our advocacy work is made possible by maintaining contacts on visits of project partner delegations and also by providing high-quality information. As a result, over the past few years, we have gained a high level of trust and a good reputation among politicians from the EU and other parts of the world. This helps us to launch projects and win over fellow campaigners.
With a donation volume of approximately 122 million euros, a good deal of need can be alleviated, but more is required to create a real difference in the world. One means of leverage is the information and motivation of governmental and transnational agencies which can then influence local governments. ACN acts as an advocate of brotherly love and Christians in need, or as the foundation likes to say: “We give persecuted Christians a voice.”
ACN does not accept government funding, but can bring together governments that want to stand up for religious freedom and Christians in need with reliable partners on the ground. In this way, we often succeed in alerting political decision-makers to the increasing persecution of Christians worldwide and in explaining the background stories.
Our activities as an advocate for Christians were put to the test by the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. Travel restrictions came into force and many political institutions were no longer allowed to receive guests, which often slowed down the work of ACN. Nevertheless, important events could take place, some of them digitally.
For example, ACN was one of the coordinators of a meeting of experts held at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida, from 4–7 March. Participants included U.S. politicians, Church repre–sentatives, legal experts, academics and other stakeholders. ACN representatives presented case studies and gave talks on the respective backgrounds. At the invitation of ACN, the priest Joseph Fidelis Bature from Maiduguri, Nigeria also took part and gave a first-hand account of the crimes that had been committed there. The meeting eventually led to concrete results. These included the implementation of a U.S. State Department trauma treatment project for Maiduguri and a European Parliament resolution.
ACN also participated in a webinar on U.S. economic sanctions against Syria, held at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. In all our activities, we are always concerned with achieving synergy effects and reaching out to multipliers in order to inform opinion leaders about the plight of Christians and to mobilise them for dialogue and action.