Seeking Peace in Central America

Bishop Melvin Jiménez, chairperson of the Committee for Advocacy and Public Voice © LWF/S. Gallay
Bishop Melvin Jiménez, chairperson of the Committee for Advocacy and Public Voice © LWF/S. Gallay

LWF Council Calls for Action to End Violence and Impunity in the Region

(LWI) Expressing its “deep concern” regarding the continuing violence and violation of human rights in Central America, The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has urged concrete action to help bring calm to the region.

In a public statement adopted by the LWF Council at its 13-18 June meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the LWF reiterated that Guatemala and Honduras are experiencing a high level of social insecurity, with Honduras suffering the highest homicide rate in the world and Guatemala ranked in the top 10.

The LWF governing body reiterated its 2011 appeal to the United Nations for the establishment of an Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Honduras to complement the office in Guatemala: It urged that both offices redouble their efforts to overcome the impunity allowed those who commit murder and attack human rights activists.

The statement presented by the Committee for Advocacy and Public Voice noted that the  crimes in both countries are mainly associated with gangs and organized crime, but they affect the whole population, especially the poor and weak.

“We believe it is urgent to seek peace, and that it is our duty as churches to be supportive of the peace initiatives that are being attempted in response to the cries of the people of Guatemala and Honduras. They ask for our prayers and expressions of love,” the Council said.

The Geneva Council meeting also offered thanks for the peace processes that have been initiated in both Honduras and El Salvador between criminal gangs and government authorities, with the critical involvement of churches and other civil society players.

“We call upon the international community to redouble efforts in support of these processes, with an aim to consolidate a lasting peace for the benefit of all citizens,” the Council said.

The LWF governing body welcomed the upcoming visit to Central America of the LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge, with the hope that it would help make governments in the region aware of the Lutheran communion’s concern about human rights violations and the need for immediate action to end the violence.

The Council offered the prayers and solidarity of the Lutheran communion with the churches and people of Central America, saying: “May they be encouraged in their continuing struggle for peace and for the defense of the human rights of the weak and the most vulnerable in society.”

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