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Indonesia - Expression of concern and condolences to the families of victims of the bombing in Bali

16 October 2002

Letter to member churches and national councils in Indonesia and Australia, 16 October 2002.

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

We are shocked and grieved by the car bomb explosion near the Kuta Beach in Bali that killed nearly two hundred innocent Indonesians and foreigners, mostly Australians. The World Council of Churches has been deeply disturbed by the increase and spread in incidents of violence in the archipelago which have claimed hundreds of innocent lives in the last couple of years. In letters addressed to successive Indonesian governments, the Council has expressed our deep concern about these developments and the failure of the law enforcement agencies in the country to guarantee the safety and security of the people.

The tragic event in Bali last week should reinforce our resolve not to allow forces of evil and darkness to use violence as a tool to spread fear, division and despondency. On the contrary, it should stimulate us to revive our commitment to the Decade to Overcome Violence in order to build just, sustainable and reconciled communities. In a country like Indonesia churches and other religious communities are also under obligation to work together for the creation of a culture of peace with justice.

We welcome the unequivocal condemnation of the perpetrators of this horrendous act by the Indonesian officials and appreciate particularly the statement of President Megawati that "the bombing is a warning to all that terrorism is a real danger and potential threat to national security". We sincerely hope that every effort will be made to identify the culprits and to bring them to trial before courts of law and ensure that justice is done.

Please express our profound sympathy to the families of the victims and our fervent prayers for the injured. Assuring you of our prayers and support for your communities at this difficult time.

                                                                                                                                         Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                                                         Konrad Raiser
                                                                                                                                         General Secretary