From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Christian relief organization says it will stay in

Date Fri, 22 Aug 2003 16:50:52 -0500

Note #7892 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Christian relief organization says it will stay in Iraq
August 22, 2003

Christian relief organization says it will stay in Iraq

By Ecumenical News International

GENEVA - A Christian relief organization linked to Action by Churches
Together (ACT) is insisting it will not withdraw staff from Iraq following
the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, and it says it
will strengthen its presence in the country.

"It is very important that we don't let down the Iraqi people at this time.
The need for rebuilding the country is desperate," Atle Sommerfeldt, general
secretary of Norwegian Church Aid said on Wednesday. "We cannot let
terrorists tell us where humanitarian organizations can and cannot work."

ACT is a Geneva-based global network of churches and related agencies meeting
human needs in emergency situations. The Presbyterian Church (USA) is a
participating denomination.

Meanwhile, in New York, the general secretary of the U.S. National Council of
Churches, the Rev. Robert W. Edgar said, "If we ever are to achieve a 'just
peace,' whether in Iraq or among Israelis and Palestinians, the cycle of
violence must be broken." Edgar went on, "And in both situations,
international collaboration toward lasting solutions is crucial."

An ongoing search in Baghdad on Thursday uncovered three more bodies, said UN
spokesman Salim Lone, bringing the death toll from Tuesday's bomb blast to at
least 23, including chief UN envoy to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

On the same day as the Baghdad blast, a suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem
killed 20 people, including six children.

"Both of Tuesday's attacks, while set in different contexts, killed and
injured innocent civilians and further stoked frustration and fear in the
wider population," Edgar noted.

"Moreover, the attack on the United Nations' Baghdad offices - also a hub of
activity for non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian assistance
in Iraq - struck at the very people who are working for the survival and
well-being of ordinary Iraqi children, women and men.

"In fact," Edgar said, "many of them opposed the U.S.-led war and the
preceding decade-plus of economic sanctions that, according to the United
Nations, resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of children."

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