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Title: The Influx of Refugees in the United States and Libraries Housing of Religious Documents- Preserving, Protecting, Disseminating, and Conducting Interreligious Dialogues with Refugees
Authors: Obodoruku, Benedicta
Keywords: Subject::Refugees
Subject::Interreligious dialogue
Issue Date: 6-Oct-2023
Publisher: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Series/Report no.: 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam;
Abstract: The intricacy of the persistent influx of refugees is a worldwide concern for the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations High Commissioner to Refugees (UNHCR)—too often people have been forced to flee from their homes due to conflicts, persecution and various humanitarian crises. The UNHCR indicated that there were 108.4 million people who were forcibly displaced globally, with 35.3 million of them being refugees, in 2022. Also, there were over 3 million refugees who have resettled in all 50 states in the United States of America, since 1975. In 2022, the U.S. admitted 25,400 refugees and, in 2023, President Joe Biden is projected to admit an estimated total of 125,000 refugees in the U.S.3, Therefore, this exploratory study examines the following: how can libraries better serve the continuing influx of refugees’ communities in the United States by housing religious documents, preserve, protect and disseminate them to refugees? And, how can libraries encourage the implementation of interreligious dialogue for refugees in their communities where they can share their experiences, skills and creativity? — This will enable libraries to increase universal awareness of the messages of peace in their collections and to better provide access to help refugees to learn about their religious roots. The United Nations 1946 Resolution 59 (1) stipulated that “[f]reedom of information is a fundamental human right and is the touchstone of all the freedoms to which the United Nations is consecrated.” Plus, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 18 indicated that “[e]veryone has the right to freedom of thought...and religion; this right includes...either alone or in community with manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Thus, refugees have the rights to practice their religion, to have access to religious documents and the right to interreligious dialogue. This research study employed content analysis and observational methodologies to review profuse literature, studies, the UN, UNHCR and U.S reports, treaties, protocols, conventions and declarations on refugees’ protection policies and procedures. This study found that libraries in the United States are failing their responsibilities to house religious documents, preserve, protect and disseminate information to refugees. Also, the findings show that libraries can properly serve refugees communities through interreligious dialogue via focus group discussions and interviews in order to shed light on refugees’ experiences, skills and creativity. This study hopes to shed light on libraries’ inexistence of housing of religious documents, and preserve, protect, disseminate and conduct interreligious dialogues with refugees, which is a crucial point for Sustainable Development.
Appears in Collections:World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) Materials

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