Inclusive Dialogue a Prerequisite for Sustainable and Just Peace
LWI Council Press Release No. 07/2012 | BOGOTÁ, Colombia/GENEVA, 20 June 2012 (LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council has expressed solidarity with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Colombia (IELCO), encouraging it to continue to respond in faith and action to violence and social injustice in the Latin American country.
In a public statement adopted at its meeting 15-20 June in Bogotá hosted by IELCO, the LWF governing body called upon “Lutherans around the world to pray and engage with and for the churches and people of Colombia, and for a sustainable peace based on justice.”
The statement presented by the Committee for Advocacy and Public Voice noted that the Council during its stay had witnessed the challenges of the Colombian people living in poverty in the midst of a decades-long violent armed conflict involving outlawed armed groups, drug cartels and gross violations of human rights.
“One out of every 10 Colombians—more than 5.5 million persons—has been forcibly displaced from his or her home. Those most seriously affected by the violence and social injustice have been women, children and indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians.”
The Council expressed appreciated that the Colombian government had passed a law offering displaced persons the possibility of reclaiming their land, but urged the government to implement fully the law in consultation with civil society and respect for human rights.
The Council affirmed that attaining a just and sustainable peace in the Latin American country required the participation of every citizen and “not just government officials or representatives of groups.” The peace-building process, it noted, must take place both from the highest level to the grassroots, and from the grassroots level upwards, and would have to involve victims, as they play “a key part” in the dialogue process.
The LWF governing body, which meets annually, noted that in the context of the long-standing armed conflict, Colombians also remain vulnerable to flooding and other natural disasters, and to a health care system that offers only limited support to those affected by HIV and AIDS.
The Council expressed sincere gratitude to IELCO Bishop Eduardo Martinez for the generous hospitality in hosting the first LWF Council meeting to be held in Latin America.
“We seek peace with justice and promote reconciliation,” the Council added, referring to the theme of this year’s meeting and the LWF’s vision statement. (401 words)