World Council of Churches

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

Appeal for peace based on justice

19 October 2003

Letter to the Christian churches and all the people of Bolivia, 19 October, 2003

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Grace and peace to you from the heart!

Geographical distance has not prevented us from being profoundly moved by
the news reaching us from Bolivia in recent weeks. The Bolivian people have
mobilized, taking over La Paz and there have been demonstrations in other cities
as well.

A shadow has been cast on the recent events by the deaths of more than 100
people, with more than 400 others injured.

We urge the new government, and notably the President, Mr Carlos de Meza
Gisbert, to listen to the voice of the people and to steer the country towards a
lasting peace. Dialogue is urgently needed in order to rebuild the country with
the involvement of the people, and create a strong democracy based on right and
justice. In the words of the prophet: "The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quiet and trust for ever." (Isa. 32:17)

In this new stage we are particularly concerned about the fate of all those who
are excluded from society - the poor, the indigenous people, women and children.
They are the most vulnerable and they are the ones who suffer most from
the consequences of this conflict.

We join in prayer and witness with the churches of Bolivia which, through
their words and actions, have set an outstanding example of Christ's discipleship,
urging that justice and peace may reign.

May God be with the people of Bolivia, the churches and their pastors, that
they may find peace based on justice, and that democracy and right relations
among all the Bolivian people may be strengthened.

With fraternal greetings,

Konrad Raiser
General Secretary