From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[ENS] Christian relief organization affirms commitment to stay in

From "Mika Larson" <>
Date Mon, 25 Aug 2003 17:37:53 -0400



Christian relief organization affirms commitment to stay in Iraq

Ecumenical News Service 

[ENS] Geneva, 21 August (ENI)--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 UN 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. 

Meanwhile, in New York, the general secretary of the US 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

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 US-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." [338 words] 

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