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Actions on public issues (additional)

06 September 2006

(Covers the period from 11 July 2006)

 

AFRICA

18 July Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to Dr. Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 88th birthday anniversary. In his tribute to Dr. Mandela, Rev. Dr. Sam Kobia told Dr. Mandela that no human person today has gained a greater stature of integrity and righteousness than him; we give hanks to God for his life and for the wave of justice and reconciliation which swept his nation and the whole region as he stepped out of that prison cell a few years ago. 

24 July Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to the member churches in the Democratic Republic of Congo expressing grief and anger on the senseless devastation of the country and the wanton killings of its people in the worst wars in Africa's history. The General Secretary called on the world to repent of its conspiracy to exploit the Congo's resources and its people for profit, to end its indifference and to acknowledge the shame of oppression. 

ASIA/PACIFIC

2 August Letter from the World Council of Churches to HE Dato' Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in which the General Secretary urged the Malaysian government to create and offer open spaces where frank and creative dialogue can take place, without extremists derailing such positive measures. The General Secretary emphasised that the Malaysia's progressive and secular-based Constitution caters to the needs and aspirations of its multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. 

LATIN AMERICA and the CARIBBEAN

10 July Letter from the World Council of Churches General Secretary to President George W. Bush stating that the new proposals to tighten US economic and humanitarian restrictions on Cuba will adversely effect vulnerable Cuban people, and a recommendation that would isolate the Cuban Council of Churches constitutes a gross violation of religious freedom and a remarkably aggressive interference in religious matters. The General Secretary urged churches and national councils of churches to express their solidarity with the Cuban Council of Churches and to articulate their concern about these restrictions to the US authorities. 

 

MIDDLE EAST

10 July Letter from the WCC/CCIA Acting Director to HE Mr. Ilan Baruch, Ambassador of Israel at the Republic of South Africa to express alarm and concern following a violent incident in Hebron during which a South African volunteer was attacked by a Jewish settler in the Old City of Hebron. In the letter, the Council requested a police and judicial action against the settler; zero tolerance by soldiers for abusive, unlawful and violent behaviour by settlers towards Palestinians and internationals; and concrete steps that lead to the complete withdrawal of all settlers from Hebron and return of settler-occupied properties to their Palestinian owners.

13 July Statement from the World Council of Churches General Secretary following the new wave of violence in the Middle East appealing to and strongly urging all parties to immediately stop and reverse the escalation of the conflict and all use of the rhetoric of war. The General Secretary also reiterated that the Council insists fully and firmly on the need for all parties to protect civilians in accordance with international law. 

21 July Pastoral letter from the World Council of Churches to member churches in the Middle East, Europe and North America on the violence in the Middle East in which the General Secretary encouraged them to pray for all those suffering as a result of the Middle East crisis, to support the appeals for emergency aid and to speak out for justice among the states and peoples of the region. 

21 July Letter from the General Secretary to the permanent members of the UN Security Council concerning the tragedy unfolding in the Middle East and the critical opportunity it presents. The Council urged the governments of the permanent members to exercise much needed cooperation among them and with the Secretary General of the United Nations in order to implement a series of linked, multilateral actions, including the immediate cease-fires in Lebanon and Gaza; the release of all those in detention and the multilateral implementation of long-delayed UN Security Council resolutions for peace in Lebanon, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 

3 August Appeal from the World Council of Churches to the International Community, especially the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom, to do whatever is possible to stop the bombings, negotiate a cease-fire and a comprehensive peace settlement in Lebanon. In its appeal, the Council also called on the Israeli government to give guarantees that humanitarian organisations will be allowed unhindered access to those in need of assistance and offered prayers to all the people of Lebanon, Muslims and Christians alike, as well as the people of Israel who have fallen victims to the missiles. 

8 August A Call to End the Violence: Joint appeal by the leaders of the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches calling upon Israel and Hizbullah to end the fighting in Lebanon and upon the United States, the European Union and the Arab States to exercise their influence toward this end. It also called upon the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to end the conflict in Gaza. 

OTHER

31 July Letter of condolences from the World Council of Churches to the Geneva Jewish community on the death of its Chief Rabbi, Alexandre Safran. In his letter, the General Secretary expressed gratitude to God for the great gift of the Chief Rabbi's life, faith, intellect and service to humanity.