World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Escalation of violence in Liberia

13 June 2009

Letter to H.E. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, 13 June, 2003

(A similar letter was also sent to Brother Benjamin D. Lartey, General Secretary of
the Liberian Council of Churches as well as to the member churches in Liberia.)

Dear Mr Secretary General,

The World Council of Churches has received with concern and sadness reports
of the escalating fighting between the forces of the government of Liberia and the
rebel group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy. This has added
to the sufferings of the people of Liberia. Thousands of people, including internally
displaced persons and refugees from neighbouring countries, have once again
been uprooted and are on the move in search of security. Food, water and shelter
are hard to find as all main roads to Monrovia have been blocked by the fighting.

The UN personnel and aid agency staff have been forced to evacuate thus hampering
the distribution of much needed humanitarian aid and assistance. The
looting and plunder have added to the miseries of an already tormented and
deprived unarmed civilian population.

The World Council of Churches, through its auxiliary Action by Churches
Together (ACT), is engaged in providing humanitarian aid and assistance to people
in need.

The Council is deeply disturbed by these developments as they come at a time
when many hopes are attached to the Liberian Peace Conference that opened in
Accra on 4 June under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African
States (ECOWAS) and the UN International Contact Group on Liberia (ICGL).

We hope that the peace process presently stalled will be revived with the active
participation of all parties concerned so that a genuine search for a just and durable
peace can begin by putting into effect an immediate cease-fire and an end to hostilities.

Given the gravity of this near-anarchy situation that has developed it is difficult
to foresee a cease-fire holding out without the backing of a credible peacekeeping
force. The World Council of Churches therefore calls on the United
Nations to support the peace initiative of ECOWAS and ICGL and encourage the
parties to the conflict to agree on the presence of peacekeepers to prevent the situation
from deteriorating into yet another major human tragedy.

Respectfully yours,

Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser
General Secretary