From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[WCC News] Kigali Covenant: solidarity with Rwanda

From "WCC Media" <>
Date Mon, 19 Apr 2004 17:23:41 +0200

World Council of Churches 7 Press Update
 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 19/04/2004 - pu-04-22

 Kigali Covenant: churches in solidarity with the people of Rwanda

 Free photos available, see below

 Cf. Press Update PU-04-21 of 19 April 2004
 Cf. Press Update PU-04-20 of 16 April 2004
 Cf. Press Update PU-04-19 of 14 April 2004
 Cf Press Update PU-04-18 of 8 April 2004

  An urgent call for resources to complete the task of restoration in
  Rwanda, and recognition of the churches' failure to address the genocide
  ten years ago are among the main results of an ecumenical workshop on
  "Lasting peace in Africa" ending yesterday in Kigali. Participants also
  highlighted sources of hope and courage.

  The 16-18 April 2004 workshop, convened by the Protestant Council of
  Rwanda and the Alliance of Evangelical Churches in Rwanda, the All Africa
  Conference of Churches (AACC) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) was
  attended by church and ecumenical leaders from some 20 African countries.

  The workshop's conclusions were summarized in a document - the Kigali
  Covenant - read at a commemorative service held on Sunday evening at
  Kigali stadium.

  Deeply touched by "the efforts of the Rwandan government, churches and
  humanitarian agencies" to bring "solidarity and acts of healing to the
  victims of the genocide," participants at the workshop noted that "more
  resources are needed to complete the task of restoration".

  Through the Covenant, they called "for a strong advocacy effort and
  support of the healing process currently taking place" in Rwanda. "The
  ecumenical family must undertake to assist in any way possible" the
  victims of the genocide, they stated.

  The document also recognizes and apologizes for the failure of the
  ecumenical family.  "We accept our guilt for inaction during the genocide
  in Rwanda before God and offer our apology, as some Rwandan churches
  [have already done], to the people of Rwanda," the document says.

  Committing themselves to make sure that "never again should such a degree
  of violence and crime against humanity be allowed to occur in any of our
  countries," participants stressed the need to build "the capacity of our
  churches in advocacy" and to be "proactive in the prevention of

  They also challenged "the leadership of churches and governments to feed
  the minds and souls of their people with love, peace and reconciliatory
  messages so that painful experiences in human memory are not exploited".

  At the same time, they committed themselves to "stand up and speak
  against behaviour, pronouncements and practices that have the tendency to
  set one group of people against another".

  Facing the horror

  The workshop participants were personally confronted with "the depth of
  the horror" of "the dark hundred days" that the genocide lasted when they
  visited the Ntarama Memorial (formerly a Roman Catholic chapel) and the
  Kigali Memorial Centre.

  "We saw the remnants of the genocide in the form of bones, skulls and
  dilapidated clothing and personal belongings of babies, children, youth
  and adults. [*] We also heard stories of women victims of the genocide
  who were raped and who today are living with HIV/AIDS and bruised bodies;
  child-headed households and totally handicapped persons."

  These testimonies reminded them of the passion of Christ. "The abuse,
  anger, tension, humiliation, trauma, pain and tears inherent in any
  genocide experience like that of Rwanda remind us of the event leading to
  the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ."

  But they also found "hope and courage" within and among Rwandans who have
  "embarked with determination [on] the process of reconstruction of
  [their] country and reconciliation of its sons and daughters" . They were
  therefore able also to "thank God for the victory of Easter - for
  bringing us back to life, for bringing Rwanda back to life".

  The Kigali Covenant was received for further study and implementation by
  a joint delegation of the WCC and the AACC, headed by WCC general
  secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and AACC president Rev. Nyansako ni-Nku,
  which visited the country from 16-18 April.

  Full text of the Kigali Covenant:	(English)  (French)

  Free high-resolution photos of the visit available at: 

For more information contact:
	 Media Relations Office
 tel: (+41 22) 791 64 21 / (+41 22) 791 61 53 

 The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 342, in
 more than 120 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian
 traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works
 cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly,
 which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally
 inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by
 general secretary Samuel Kobia from the Methodist church in Kenya.

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