World Council of Churches

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

Attacks on Roma families in Belfast

19 June 2009

The Rev. Michael Earle
General secretary
Irish Council of Churches

19 June 2009

Dear Rev. Earle,


We received the news of the attacks on the Roma families in Belfast with shock and dismay as were about to conclude a conference on Racism and related forms of discrimination and exclusion in Doorn, Holland on 17 June. This conference was convened by the World Council of Churches to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Programme to Combat Racism. During our time together from 14-17 June, we were constantly made aware of the extremely hard conditions of the Roma communities in different parts of Europe by those representing the same at the conference.


We concluded the conference with prayers for the families and also were of one mind to communicate to the member churches in the Irish Council of Churches our shock and to condemn this racist violence. At the same time, we have also applauded the local churches and others civic leaders who are taking these families in. These acts are symbolic of what churches must do in situations such as this. We thank God for this faithful and powerful witness of standing alongside the victims of aggression and injustice which we believe is the central to Christian faith. The conference in its statement said, "The people of God is a community of love and freedom, it is a Church which includes the oppressed and disenfranchised and those victimized by racist policies and institutions. It transcends all boundaries and rejects prejudiced ideologies, to build new, just and inclusive communities."


Please be assured of our prayers and support as you pursue in this ministry and also communicate the same to those who are affected by this violence.


In solidarity and partnership


Deenabandhu Manchala
Staff person in charge of the conference,
WCC project on Just and Inclusive Communities

Copy: Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, general secretary, World Council of Churches, Geneva