Mission workers are ill-equipped to make social justice a reality in their host countries, according to a study of more than 70 overseas ministries released by International Justice Mission (IJM) of Alexandria, Virginia.

IJM President Gary Haugen said, "The study's clear findings show a significant need for an independent Christian justice ministry that has resources and expertise to respond to cases of injustice and oppression as they are referred from overseas workers who cannot respond directly without jeopardizing their ministry."

The most frequently cited abuses by overseas missionaries and relief-and-development workers in the areas they live were public justice corruption, abusive soldiers or police, child prostitution, detention or disappearance without charge or trial, and state-supported discrimination or abuse of ethnic minorities.

Christian workers usually are not in a position to intervene effectively on behalf of victims because they are foreigners, lack expertise to document abuses and to file reports to authorities, are vulnerable to recrimination, and lack intervention support from their sponsors. The nonprofit ijm, founded in 1994, is in position to help meet such needs.

The study was unveiled before several top missions and relief-and-development leaders in a July meeting chaired by Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) in Washington, D.C.

Last Updated: October 4, 1996

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