From the Worldwide Faith News archives


Date 16 May 1996 16:17:54

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Contact: Carol J. Fouke, NCC, 212-870-2252

50NCC5/16/96             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 NEW YORK ---- A race against time -- that is
how Church World Service describes the urgency of
its development, reconstruction and reconciliation
work in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia during this
year of fragile peace enforced by U.S. and other

 "Residents are now gauging whether war is more
profitable or peace, and what is the better course
for the future of their lives," said the Rev. Paul
Wilson, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
minister who directs the CWS Europe Office.  The
key, he said, is helping people stabilize their
economy and living conditions so that when outside
peacekeepers leave, people choose peace rather than
a return to war.

 "I have seen people who want to start the war
again," said Peter Mikuliak, CWS Regional Director
for Bosnia-Herzegovina, with offices in Metcovic,
Croatia.  From Mayfield, Pa., this long-term CWS
staffer was appointed to his current
responsibilities in December.

 "We need to out-organize the warmongers," said
Mr. Mikuliak during a recent brief U.S. visit.  "We
don't have much time.  We have to work smart and
fast so people will say, 'We want to build our
country back up.'"

 He described CWS's $17 million humanitarian aid
program from 1992 through 1995, which included
delivery of food, shoes, underwear, school kits,
health kits, blankets, dishes, anti-lice shampoo and
medical supplies.  While such aid continues as
needed, CWS now is in "the joyous process of
transition from war relief to reconstruction and
reconciliation," he said.

 The same indigenous ecumenical and grassroots
agencies that have been CWS partners in delivering
humanitarian assistance now are collaborators in
development and economic recovery programs.  CWS is
helping small businesses and farms get re-
established and is supporting healing and
reconciliation following four years of war.

 CWS efforts are focusing on the most
vulnerable, including the abandoned elderly, new
widows, orphans, war-disabled and survivors of rape,
ethnic "cleansing" and other brutalities.
Attention also is being given to demobilized
soldiers, to encourage them to recover a normal

 "Thousands of soldiers are being mustered out,"
said the Rev. Wilson.  "If these men and youths
don't find livelihoods in times of peace, what is to
deter them from returning to war?  It's the
responsibility of the international community to


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