World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 firstname.lastname@example.org For immediate release - 05/09/2006 05:26:08 PM
NORTHERN UGANDA : WCC CENTRAL COMMITTEE URGES FOR SUSTAINABLE PEACE PROCESS
The central committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) has appealed to the United Nations and the African Union to endorse a plan for a sustainable peace process between the government of Uganda and the ?Lord?s Resistance Army? (LRA).
In a statement on the plight of children in conflicts, with a focus on Northern Uganda, the central committee, meeting in Geneva 30 August to 6 September, condemned the atrocities being committed by the LRA and called on it, ?to abide by the terms of any cease fire, desisting from all acts of violence, including abductions?.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) formed in 1987, is a rebel paramilitary group operating mainly in northern Uganda. The group is engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government in what is now one of Africa?s longest running conflicts. The LRA has been accused of widespread human rights violations, including torture, rape, the abduction of civilians and the use of child soldiers.
The involvement of children in war is an offence not only against the children, but also against God, says the statement that was adopted by consensus by the 150 delegates from 348 churches worldwide.
It says the Gospel reminds Christians that children are hopeful signs of God?s unconditional love and promise to humankind. Any attack on children and their childhood ?must be denounced as being intolerable and unacceptable.?
The plight of the children, their woes and suffering, continues to be immense and endless ?from Sierra Leone to Liberia, and from Sudan to the Democratic Republic of Congo?, the statement says. Millions of children around the world, but more particularly in Africa, are not only bystanders in conflicts, but targets.
The central committee called attention to the situation of child soldiers. They are abducted, often put under the influence of drugs to make them commit atrocities, and abused both physically and psychologically.
After the end of an armed conflict the reintegration of demobilized ex-child soldiers is a difficult and complex process. In Northern Uganda, during the last 20 years ?thousands of young children have been kidnapped, tortured, raped, virtually enslaved and sometimes killed by the LRA.?
The WCC central committee urged the Ugandan government to ensure the protection of all civilians. In particular, it said, children must be protected from abductions, child casualties should be minimized, and concrete plans should be developed for meeting the long-term needs of former child soldiers.
The statement acknowledges the engagement of the churches of Uganda in trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. Central committee said an important step on that road was the founding of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) of 1998, that was supported by the Ugandan Joint Christian Council.
Full text of the "Statement on plight of children in conflicts with focus on Northern Uganda" is available on the WCC website: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva-20 06/reports-and-documents.html
More information on the WCC Central Committee meeting is available on the WCC website: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/cc2006.html
Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 email@example.com
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The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.