Statement of the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone

Freetown, 10th May 2000

The deteriorating security situation and breach of the Lomé peace agreement resulting in the current spate of hostilities and renewed suffering of the people is of worrying concern to the inter-religious council of Sierra Leone.

The peoples of Sierra Leone want peace! Their long suffering has been borne with great courage, and this has only strengthened their commitment to reconciliation and the establishment of a society based upon respect for truth and justice.

 The peoples of Sierra Leone want all the parties to the peace process to bear their full responsibilities for ending hostilities and building the peace. Genuine peace must benefit all. The people want the responsible, disciplined, and effective assistance of the UN mandated mission during this period of transition. And, in the final analysis, they want an honest process designed to ensure an effective representative government committed to the common good and the constructive engagement of all parties to the conflict.

 Acts of commission or omission that threaten peace with justice are an attack on the peoples of Sierra Leone and a violation of their sovereign will. This has gone on for far too long and it must stop now! We acknowledge civil society for its great awareness and constructive approach in expressing the wish of the citizenry.

As leaders of the religious communities in Sierra Leone, we, the members of Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone (IRCSL), take as our sole standpoint a shared moral commitment to peace with justice, which is deeply held and widely shared by our religious communities.

The IRCSL hereby calls upon all concerned to immediately desist from any acts that violate the terms of the Lomé peace agreement or retard its progress. IRCSL also calls upon those with special designated responsibilities for peace-building to exercise their commitments with responsibility and vigour.

Specifically, the Inter-Religious Council of Sierra Leone calls upon:

  1. Cpl Foday Sabanah Sankoh and his RUF Rebel Forces involved in recent hostilities to immediately and unconditionally release all captured UN personnel and other abductees, desist from all acts of violence, and re-enter in full faith into the Disarmament and Demobilization Programme. The IRCSL further calls for effective leadership within the rebel movement designed to ensure full compliance with the peace process among all its members.
  2. The Government of Sierra Leone and President Kabbah to exercise their due and legitimate responsibility of protecting and serving all the citizens of Sierra Leone in their desire for peace, right to protection, and demand for effective governance.
  3. The United Nations to implement with vigour and strength its full mandate to protect peace in Sierra Leone, and
  4. The International Community to fulfill its commitments to the government of Sierra Leone, the United Nations and relevant non-governmental organizations to enable them effectively to fulfill their respective mandates vis-à-vis the Lomé peace agreement.
  5. As a religious body, the IRCSL offers its good offices to all concerned to re-engage the entire country in the process of comprehensive peace-building and reconciliation.