Violence in Cote dâ€™Ivoire
Statement by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
The World Council of Churches (WCC) expresses deep concern regarding the ongoing violence and killings of a large number of civilians in Cote d’Ivoire, including women and children, particularly in Duekoue and Abidjan.
It is with great distress that we have been following the brutal killings of innocent people in the country as well as the mass exodus of civilians who are affected by the rivalry between the two political parties under the respective rival leaderships.
The escalation of violence in Abidjan and the surrounding towns over the weekend is a cause for profound regret. We are concerned by the worsening situation, as it can lead to deep ethnic and religious conflicts, and as a result Ivoirians may lose their sense of belonging and the spirit of communal harmony which inspires them to live in peace. When negotiations could lead to conflict resolution, it is unfortunate that the followers of the two major political factions have opted for violence to settle their disputes at the expense of the lives of citizens.
We fear that the deteriorating situation is on the verge of enflaming religious conflicts. Already, religion is being used to wield political and economic power. We appeal to all people of goodwill to reject such manipulation. It is in this context that the World Council of Churches urges leaders on both sides to take adequate measures to end the hostilities and work for a negotiated political settlement to attain justice, peace and reconciliation within the country.
We request that immediate action be taken to ensure the protection and security of every individual in Cote d’Ivoire. It is our sincere hope that those in positions of leadership and authority will take immediate actions to ensure security and peace with justice, to settle the political conflict and to launch a transitional government of national unity for the sake of all Ivoirians.
As members of churches who are committed to a just peace throughout God’s creation, we pray that a right order and the spirit of reconciliation will prevail among all people and communities in Cote d’Ivoire.