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Actions on public issues

06 September 2006

The following actions have been taken on public issues since the last meeting of the Executive Committee (16-19 May 2006, in Bossey, Switzerland): 

AFRICA

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches Executive Committee on Sudan, appealing for the churches and international community to urgently refocus efforts to safeguard fragile peace process in Sudan, and warning of the risks of an ominous humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportion if those responsible for crimes against humanity in the Darfur province are not brought to justice. 

ASIA/PACIFIC

29 May Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to HE Dr H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia expressing great distress and sadness following the tragic 6.3 magnitude earthquake that shook the area around Indonesia's ancient royal city of Yogyakarta on 27 May. In his letter, the General Secretary expressed heartfelt condolences to the President and people of Indonesia, confirming that the Council and its member churches around the globe will continue to extend possible humanitarian assistance to the people affected. 

7 July Letter from the WCC General Secretary to the member churches and National Council of Churches in South Korea reiterating the Council's commitment to peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula and its people which cannot be achieved through military aggression and threats, but rather requires consistent and concerted efforts to encourage cooperation and dialogue. The letter was sent following the recent launching of seven missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 

EUROPE

30 June Letter from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to His Eminence Cardinal Bertone, congratulating him on his appointment as the Vatican Secretary of State by the Holy Father. The General Secretary emphasised in his letter that the Council has benefited for many years from good cooperation with the Holy See in addressing some of the crucial issues and looks forward to a continued cooperation in promoting the values of multilateralism - international law, human rights and peaceful resolution of conflicts - as expressions of human dignity and civilised relationship among peoples and nations. 

LATIN AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN

18 May Letter from the General Secretary and the Moderator of the World Council of Churches to the churches in Brazil expressing concern over the shocking news of unprecedented violence unleashed in São Paulo by criminal gangs which resulted in the death of more than a hundred people, including members of law enforcement agencies. Both the General Secretary and the Moderator reiterated in the letter that the focus of the Decade to Overcome Violence for the year 2006 is Latin America and hoped that - together with the churches in the region - the scourge of violence will be overcome. 

MIDDLE EAST

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee on the conflict in Israel/Palestine: The Time is Ripe to do What is Right urging the international community to establish contact and engage with all the legitimately elected leaders of the Palestinian people, insisting that all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention (including Israel, the US, the EU, Russia and the repository State Switzerland) ensure the wellbeing of the occupied population and calling on the member churches and the Council to share solidarity with people on both sides of the conflict as witness for peace. 

8 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to Rev. Dr Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk, the Presbyterian Church in the USA, on the occasion of their 217th General Assembly. In his letter the General Secretary praised the courage of the Presbyterian Church for its practice of morally responsible investment in Israel-Palestine as part of its engagement for peace in the Middle East.  

30 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to representatives of the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia), the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Prime Minister in which he expressed the Council's deep distress at the current escalation of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The General Secretary called on the international community to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence in the region, and asked both parties to engage in equitable negotiations. 

7 July Letter from the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs Acting Coordinator to HE Aviv Shir-On, Ambassador of the State of Israel, expressing alarm and concern following another violent incident in Hebron during which an Ecumenical Accompanier was attacked by a Jewish settler.  

PEACE AND DISARMAMENT

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee on Iran and Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT), urging the government of Iran to fully comply and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Security Council directives and requests; appealing to the US to reconfirm its full adherence to its 1995 pledge never to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon state signatory to the NPT; requesting the international community to solve the controversy around Iran's nuclear programme through multilateral diplomatic means; reiterating the Council's call on the five nuclear weapons states signatories to the NPT to accelerate efforts towards reductions and elimination of their nuclear arsenals and calling on the three states still outside the NPT: India, Israel and Pakistan to heed the repeated calls of the international community that each join the NPT. 

15 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to Dr Hans Blix, Chairman of The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), on the occasion of the presentation of the WMDC's Final Report to the Council. In his letter the General Secretary welcomed the Chairman of the WMDC briefing him with the Council's long history in relation to non-proliferation, and reiterated that for the 58 years of its existence, the churches united in the WCC have challenged the arms race and been dedicated to disarmament.  

UNITED NATIONS

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches Executive Committee on the Human Rights Council, recognising the contribution made by the UN Commission on Human Rights over a period of 60 years; reiterating the support for the Human Rights Council and emphasising the need to recognise the role and contribution of churches and civil society organizations in the promotion and defence of human rights; urging member churches to continue to encourage and support efforts of the UN in strengthening the links between peace and security, development and human rights; calling on member churches and ecumenical partners to deepen dialogue with people of other faiths and calling on all member states to provide full moral, material and human resources and support to ensure the successful functioning of the Human Rights Council. 

29 June Joint written statement submitted at the First Session of the Human Rights Council by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA/WCC) and Franciscans International (FI), non-governmental organizations in general consultative status, and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Dominicans for Justice and Peace, and Pax Christi International, non-governmental organizations in special consultative status on "A New Era in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights". The statement asked for the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of All Person from Enforced Disappearance and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Convention and the Declaration were adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006.  

30 June Joint written statement submitted at the First Session of the Human Rights Council by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA/WCC), Franciscans International and other NGOs in consultative status in appreciation and support of the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, calling on the governments and society to assure the Special Rapporteur of their continued support. 

OTHER

23 May Letter from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director-General of the World Health Organization, expressing deep shock and sadness on the death of Dr Lee Jong-Wook. 

29 June Message from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to the Head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr Pascal Lamy, urging him to do all he can to achieve global commerce that promotes sustainable communities and economic justice.  

The following actions have been taken on public issues since the last meeting of the Executive Committee (16-19 May 2006, in Bossey, Switzerland): 

AFRICA

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches Executive Committee on Sudan, appealing for the churches and international community to urgently refocus efforts to safeguard fragile peace process in Sudan, and warning of the risks of an ominous humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportion if those responsible for crimes against humanity in the Darfur province are not brought to justice. 

ASIA/PACIFIC

29 May Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to HE Dr H. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia expressing great distress and sadness following the tragic 6.3 magnitude earthquake that shook the area around Indonesia's ancient royal city of Yogyakarta on 27 May. In his letter, the General Secretary expressed heartfelt condolences to the President and people of Indonesia, confirming that the Council and its member churches around the globe will continue to extend possible humanitarian assistance to the people affected. 

7 July Letter from the WCC General Secretary to the member churches and National Council of Churches in South Korea reiterating the Council's commitment to peace and reunification of the Korean peninsula and its people which cannot be achieved through military aggression and threats, but rather requires consistent and concerted efforts to encourage cooperation and dialogue. The letter was sent following the recent launching of seven missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 

EUROPE

30 June Letter from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to His Eminence Cardinal Bertone, congratulating him on his appointment as the Vatican Secretary of State by the Holy Father. The General Secretary emphasised in his letter that the Council has benefited for many years from good cooperation with the Holy See in addressing some of the crucial issues and looks forward to a continued cooperation in promoting the values of multilateralism - international law, human rights and peaceful resolution of conflicts - as expressions of human dignity and civilised relationship among peoples and nations. 

LATIN AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN

18 May Letter from the General Secretary and the Moderator of the World Council of Churches to the churches in Brazil expressing concern over the shocking news of unprecedented violence unleashed in São Paulo by criminal gangs which resulted in the death of more than a hundred people, including members of law enforcement agencies. Both the General Secretary and the Moderator reiterated in the letter that the focus of the Decade to Overcome Violence for the year 2006 is Latin America and hoped that - together with the churches in the region - the scourge of violence will be overcome. 

MIDDLE EAST

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee on the conflict in Israel/Palestine: The Time is Ripe to do What is Right urging the international community to establish contact and engage with all the legitimately elected leaders of the Palestinian people, insisting that all High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention (including Israel, the US, the EU, Russia and the repository State Switzerland) ensure the wellbeing of the occupied population and calling on the member churches and the Council to share solidarity with people on both sides of the conflict as witness for peace. 

8 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to Rev. Dr Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk, the Presbyterian Church in the USA, on the occasion of their 217th General Assembly. In his letter the General Secretary praised the courage of the Presbyterian Church for its practice of morally responsible investment in Israel-Palestine as part of its engagement for peace in the Middle East.  

30 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to representatives of the Middle East Quartet (US, EU, UN and Russia), the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Prime Minister in which he expressed the Council's deep distress at the current escalation of the Israel/Palestine conflict. The General Secretary called on the international community to take bold and novel actions to uphold international law and break the vicious cycle of violence in the region, and asked both parties to engage in equitable negotiations. 

7 July Letter from the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs Acting Coordinator to HE Aviv Shir-On, Ambassador of the State of Israel, expressing alarm and concern following another violent incident in Hebron during which an Ecumenical Accompanier was attacked by a Jewish settler.  

PEACE AND DISARMAMENT

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches' Executive Committee on Iran and Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT), urging the government of Iran to fully comply and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Security Council directives and requests; appealing to the US to reconfirm its full adherence to its 1995 pledge never to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapon state signatory to the NPT; requesting the international community to solve the controversy around Iran's nuclear programme through multilateral diplomatic means; reiterating the Council's call on the five nuclear weapons states signatories to the NPT to accelerate efforts towards reductions and elimination of their nuclear arsenals and calling on the three states still outside the NPT: India, Israel and Pakistan to heed the repeated calls of the international community that each join the NPT. 

15 June Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to Dr Hans Blix, Chairman of The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), on the occasion of the presentation of the WMDC's Final Report to the Council. In his letter the General Secretary welcomed the Chairman of the WMDC briefing him with the Council's long history in relation to non-proliferation, and reiterated that for the 58 years of its existence, the churches united in the WCC have challenged the arms race and been dedicated to disarmament.  

UNITED NATIONS

16-19 May Statement of the World Council of Churches Executive Committee on the Human Rights Council, recognising the contribution made by the UN Commission on Human Rights over a period of 60 years; reiterating the support for the Human Rights Council and emphasising the need to recognise the role and contribution of churches and civil society organizations in the promotion and defence of human rights; urging member churches to continue to encourage and support efforts of the UN in strengthening the links between peace and security, development and human rights; calling on member churches and ecumenical partners to deepen dialogue with people of other faiths and calling on all member states to provide full moral, material and human resources and support to ensure the successful functioning of the Human Rights Council. 

29 June Joint written statement submitted at the First Session of the Human Rights Council by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA/WCC) and Franciscans International (FI), non-governmental organizations in general consultative status, and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Dominicans for Justice and Peace, and Pax Christi International, non-governmental organizations in special consultative status on "A New Era in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights". The statement asked for the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of All Person from Enforced Disappearance and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Convention and the Declaration were adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006.  

30 June Joint written statement submitted at the First Session of the Human Rights Council by the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches (CCIA/WCC), Franciscans International and other NGOs in consultative status in appreciation and support of the mandate and work of the Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Religion or Belief, calling on the governments and society to assure the Special Rapporteur of their continued support. 

OTHER

23 May Letter from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to Dr Anders Nordström, Acting Director-General of the World Health Organization, expressing deep shock and sadness on the death of Dr Lee Jong-Wook. 

29 June Message from the World Council of Churches' General Secretary to the Head of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr Pascal Lamy, urging him to do all he can to achieve global commerce that promotes sustainable communities and economic justice.