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Reports 1995-1998 Edited by Dwain C. Epps


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The Churches in International

Affairs

Reports 1995-1998


Edited by Dwain C. Epps

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches


Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
of the World Council of Churches

Ecumenical Centre

P.O. Box 2100

150, route de Ferney

1211 Geneva 2

Switzerland


Tel. +41.22.791.61.11

Fax +41.22.791.03.61

E-mail: ccia@wcc-coe.org

Website: http://www.wcc-coe.org/what/international




Commission of the Churches on International Affairs
of the World Council of Churches
Liaison Office at the UN Headquarters

Church Centre

777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 9D

New York, NY 10017

U.S.A.
Tel. +1.212.867.58.90

Fax +1.212.867.74.62

E-mail: unlo@wcc-coe.org


©

Copyright 2004 by the World Council of Churches

150, route de Ferney

1211 Geneva 2

Switzerland

Website: http://www.wcc-coe.org

ISBN: 2-8254-1328-3


Printed in Switzerland

For Leopoldo Niilus

Architect of the modern CCIA and

mentor to a generation of ecumenical practitioners

of international affairs

table of contents



table of contents i

Foreword 23

abbreviations 24

Moderator’s introduction 26

director’s introduction 28

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES AND TRENDS 31

Ecumenical Policy 31

Memorandum and Recommendations on the Application of Sanctions 31



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 31

Trends 42

Message of the CCIA Consultation on Church, Community and State in the Contemporary World 42

Consultation to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Seoul, Korea, 15-17 July 1996. 42

Note on the Contemporary Role of the Church in International Affairs 48



Commended to the member churches by the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-20 September 1996. 48

Issues 57

Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide 57

Letter to H.H. Karekin I, Catholicos of All Armenians and to H.E. the Locum Tenens, 19 April 1995. 57

Environmental Justice 58

Climate Change 58

Petition Campaign on Climate Change 58



Letter to member churches and related national councils of churches in the industrialized countries, 3 March 1996. 58

Building a Just and Moral Economy for Sustainable Communities 62



Statement to the Fifth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, New York, 10 April 1997, cf. p 116. 62

Statement to the High Level Segment of the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 62



Presented by the WCC delegation to the Kyoto Summit on Climate Change, Kyoto, Japan, 9 December 1997, cf. p 109. 62

Statement on US policy reversal on climate change targets 63



Press release issued in Geneva, 23 October 1997. 63

Global Economy 64

A jubilee call to end the stranglehold of debt on impoverished peoples 64

Statement issued by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 64

Statement on Globalization 68



Issued by the Eighth WCC Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 68

Resisting Domination – Affirming Life: The Challenge of Globalization 70



Document commended to the churches by the Eighth Assembly as essential background to its Statement on Globalization. 70

HUMAN RIGHTS 78

Ecumenical Policy 78

Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 78



Adopted by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 78

Statement on Human Rights 81



Adopted by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 81

Death Penalty 91

Appeal for clemency for Sarah Balabagan in the United Arab Emirates 91

Letter to H.E. Sheik Zaid ibn Sultan an Nahayan, President of the United Arab Emirates, 21 September 1995. 91

Appeal to commute the death sentences passed on Ken Saro Wiwa and his co-defendants Nigeria 92



Letter to General Sani Abacha, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2 November 1995. 92

Ecumenical appeals for clemency for Mr. Sylvester Adams in the USA 93



Letter to the Rev. L. Wayne Bryan, Executive Minister of the South Carolina Christian Action Council, 11 August 1995. 93

Appeal for stay of execution of Karla Faye Tucker in the USA 94



Letter to Mr. John Shattuck, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 3 February 1998. 94

Appeal on the application of the death penalty in Rwanda 95



Letter to H.E. Pasteur Bizimungu, President of the Republic, 23 April 1998. 95

Indigenous Peoples 97

Appeal to accelerate adoption of the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 97

Letter to H.E. José Urrutia, Ambassador of Peru to the UN in Geneva and chair of the UN Inter-sessional Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, 24 May 1996. 97

Rights of the Child 98

Call to churches to defend and protect children 98

Decision of the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-20 September 1996. 98

Statement on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child 98



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 11-19 September 1997. 98

Racial Discrimination 99

Joint statement on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 99

Issued jointly by Mr. Jean Fischer, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches, the Rev.. Dr. Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, the Rev. Dr. Milan Opocenski, General Secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser of the World Council of Churches, 19 March 1997. 99

List of UN Interventions 100

PEACE AND DISARMAMENT 101

Ecumenical Policy 101

Statement on Nuclear Testing 101

Adopted by he Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 101

Statement on Child Soldiers 103



Adopted by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 103

Peace Concerns 104

Message on the Anniversary of the end of World War II 104

Sent to member churches, 21 April 1995. 104

Christmas Message 1997 109



Issued by the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, General Secretary. 109

Landmines 110

Appeal to Member Churches to join the International Campaign to Ban Landmines 110

Letter sent 11 April 1996. 110

Message to the Oslo Diplomatic Conference on Landmines 111



Letter to H.E. Amb. J.S. Selibi, President of the Diplomatic Conference, 15 September 1997. 111

Central Committee Statement welcoming the award of the Nobel Prize for Peace to the International Campaign To Ban Landmines 113



Issued in Geneva, 10 October 1997. 113

Small Arms 114

Congratulations on British vote to ban privately-owned handguns 114

Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Tony Blair, 12 June 1997. 114

Nuclear Weapons 114

Appeal to the Government of France 114

Letter to H.E. President Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic, 15 June 1995. 114

Call to fast and pray for a halt to nuclear testing 118



Letter to members of Central Committee, member churches, national councils of churches and regional ecumenical organizations, 18 August 1995. 118

Appeal to the Government of the People’s Republic of China 121



Letter to H.E. Jin Yongjian, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, 18 August 1995 121

Appeal to the United Nations on French Nuclear Testing 122



Letter presented at the Palais des Nations to H.E. Vladimir Petrovsky, Under-Secretary-General and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, by the Officers of the World Council of Churches, 21 September 1995. 122

Statement Addressed to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference Preparatory Committee 123



Jointly submitted by the World Council of Churches and Pax Christi International to the second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2000 Review Conference of the parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Geneva, 27 April - 8 May 1998. 123

Appeal to the Government of India 126



Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 13 May 1998. 126

Appeal to the Government of Pakistan 128



Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, 29 May 1998. 128

United nations relations 130

Ecumenical Policy 130

Memorandum and Recommendations on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations 130



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 130

UN International Years 142

The Promise and Power of Faith: Religions’ role in promoting peace and tolerance 142

Presentation by the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, WCC General Secretary, in a panel to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Charter and the UN Year for Tolerance, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 3 July 1995. 142

UN World Summits and UN Special Sessions 146

Plenary Address to the World Summit for Social Development 146

Presented by the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, Brussels, 6 March 1995. 146

First Session of the Conference of the Parties for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 150



Press release issued in Berlin, April 6, 1995. 150

Statement to the Kyoto Summit on Climate Change 152



Presented by the WCC delegation to the High Level Segment of the Third Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto, Japan, 9 December 1997. 152

UN World Conferences 153

Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women 154

Letter to H.E. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 25 April 1995. 154

Statement presented to the press by the moderator of the CCIA as leader of the WCC delegation on behalf of church and ecumenical organizations, Beijing, 4 September 1995. 155

Written and Oral Submissions to other UN Bodies 157

Commission and Sub-Commission on Human Rights 157

Commission for Social Development 159

Investing in Participation” and “The Situation of Migrants in a Globalized World,” oral interventions at 36th Session, New York 1998. 159

Commission on Sustainable Development 160

Building a Just and Moral Economy for Sustainable Communities,” statement to the Fifth Session of the Commission, New York, 10 April 1997. 160

Streams of Justice,” Statement to the High-Level Segment of the Sixth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD6), New York, April 1998. 163

Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. 167

Presentation by the Rev. Eunice Santana on the situation in Puerto Rico, New York, 10 August 1998. 167

Consultative Relations 168

Informal Soundings with NGOs 168

Oral Statement by the UN Representative in New York on NGO access to UN General Assembly committees and improvement of the climate of consultative relations between governments and non-governmental organizations, New York, 9 December 1996. 168

Elections or Appointments of New UN Leaders 168

Message on threatened US use of veto in UN Secretary-General election 168

Letter to the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 7 November 1996, cf. p 335. 168

Letter to Secretary-General-Elect Kofi Annan 168



Sent 19 December 1996. 168

Letter to Mrs. Mary Robinson, High Commissioner for Human Rights 169



Sent 29 September 1997. 169

uprooted people 171

Ecumenical Policy 171

Statement on Uprooted People 171



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 171

Racism and Xenophobia 187

Expression of concern about racism and xenophobia in France 187

Letter to Monseigneur Joseph Duval, President of the Council of Christian Churches in France, 6 September 1996. 187

International Standards 189

Statement to the Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees, Displaced Persons, Other Forms of Involuntary Displacement and Returnees in the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Relevant Neighbouring States 189

Presented on behalf of Caritas Internationalis, the Conference of European Churches, Hungarian Interchurch Aid, the International Catholic Migration Commission, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, and the World Young Women’s Christian Association, Geneva, 31 May, 1996 189

Migration and Migrants’ Rights 191

regional concerns 192

Africa 192

Ecumenical Policy 192

Statement on Africa 192

Adopted by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 192

Algeria 195

Message for Algeria 195

Issued by the Executive Committee, Geneva, 20 February 1998. 195

Burundi 198

Statement on the Massacres in Burundi 198

Issued by the Acting General Secretary, 25 July 1996 198

Statement on Burundi 200



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-20 September 1996. 200

Congo (Republic) 201

Expression of solidarity with the churches 201

Identical letters to Pasteur Alphonse Mbama of the Evangelical Church of the Congo and to the Ecumenical Council of Churches of the Congo, expressing solidarity with the churches and people of Congo-Brazzaville in the midst of generalized conflict and violence, 27 June 1997. 201

Congo (Democratic Republic) / Zaïre 204

Statement on the Humanitarian Situation in Eastern Zaïre 204

Issued by the General Secretary, 5 February 1997. 204

Communiqué of the emergency meeting on the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo 204



Issued in Lusaka, Zambia, 10 September 1998. 204

Ethiopian-Eritrean Conflict 206

Peace appeal 206

Letter to H.E. Issias Afwerki, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and to H.E. Meles Zenawi, President of Eritrea, 11 June 1998. 206

Great Lakes Region 207

Statement on the Situation in the Great Lakes Region 207

Issued in Geneva, 31 October 1996. 207

Conclusions of the Regional Church Leaders Meeting on the Situation in the Great Lakes Region 210



Convened in Johannesburg, South Africa, 4-7 November 1996. 210

Appeal to the UN Secretary-General and Security Council President 213



Joint letter from the General Secretaries of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation, 14 November 1996. 213

Support for United Nations and Organization for African Unity joint initiative for a negotiated peace 214



Letter to H. E. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 21 February 1997. 214

Message of the International Consultation on the Great Lakes Ecumenical Forum 215



Convened by the WCC in Geneva, 4-6 September 1997. 215

Kenya 220

Expression of sympathy to the victims of the bombing in Nairobi of the US Embassy 220

Letter to the Rev. Mutava Musyimi, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches of Kenya, 4 August 1998. 220

Liberia 221

Appeal to the United Nations 221

Letter to UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, 15 May 1996. 221

Nigeria 222

Appeal to commute the death sentences passed on Ken Saro Wiwa and his co-defendants 222

Letter to General Sani Abacha, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2 November 1995. cf. p 61. 222

Joint Communiqué from the World Council of Churches and Shell International Limited 222



Issued at the conclusion of the meeting held in Geneva, 14 March 1997. 222

Call for international pressure to restore democracy and the rule of law 223



Oral intervention by the CCIA at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, 18 April 1997. 223

Memorandum and Recommendations on Nigeria 224



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 11-19 September 1997. 224

Appeal on behalf of people in Ogoniland 227



Letter to H.E. Ejoh Abuah, Ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations in Geneva, 6 January 1998. 227

Appeal for the release of Chief Bola Ige and fellow detainees 229



Letter to H.E. Ejoh Abuah, Ambassador of Nigeria to the United Nations in Geneva,14 May 1998. 229

Rwanda 229

Appeal on the application of the death penalty. 229

Letter from the Coordinator of the CCIA to H.E. Pasteur Bizimungu, President of the Republic, 23 April 1998, cf. p 64. 229

Sierra Leone 230

Statement on Sierra Leone 230

Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 11-19 September 1997. 230

South Africa 231

Withdrawal of call to boycott Shell Oil Company 231

Action by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 231

Sudan 231

Here We Stand United in Action for Peace: The Position of the Sudanese Church on the Current Conflict in the Country 231

Adopted by representatives of the Sudan Council of Churches and the New Sudan Council of Churches at their joint meeting convened and facilitated by the WCC, Morges, Switzerland, 25 September 1996. 231

Statement on Sudanese Church Leaders’ Initiatives in Sudan 236



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 11-19 September 1997. 236

Background Note on Sudan 240



Received by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 240

Protest against bombing of civilians and churches in South Sudan 241



Letter sent from Harare, Zimbabwe, to H.E. Mustafa Ismail Usman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Sudan, 12 December 1998. 241

Tanzania 242

Expression of sympathy to victims of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Dar-Es-Salaam 242

Letter to Dr. Wilson Mthebe, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Tanzania, 14 August 1998. 242

Togo 242


Appeal for democratic process to be fully applied in respect of national elections 242

Letter to H.E. General Gnassingbe Eyadema, President of the Republic, 1 July 1998. 242

Letter to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Church, the WCC member churches in Togo, 1 July 1998 244

Expression of solidarity with Togolese churches and Christians in the midst of political tumult. 246



Letter to Pasteur Félicien Lawson Kouhadin, President of the General Synod of the Methodist Church in Togo, 17 November 1998. 246

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 247

Zambia 248

Expression of solidarity with Dr. Kenneth Kaunda 248

Letter to Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and copied to the Christian Council of Zambia, 27 January 1998. 248

Zimbabwe 249

Exchange of letters on the situation in Africa and Zimbabwe in view of the planned meeting of the Eighth Assembly in Harare 249

Letter from Mr. Densen Mafinyani, General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) to the Executive Committee meeting in Amersfoort, Netherlands and participants in events in Amsterdam to mark the 50th anniversary of the WCC, 19 September 1998. 249

Reply from the General Secretary on behalf of the Executive Committee to the ZCC and the Heads of Christian Denominations, 28 September 1998. 249

Asia 253


China, Peoples Republic 253

Ecumenical Delegation Visit 253



Press release summarizing the findings of the WCC delegation visit to China at the invitation of the China Christian Council (CCC), 5-14 May 1996. 253

Hong Kong 254

Message on the reversion of Hong Kong to China 254

Letter to the Christian Council and WCC Member Churches in Hong Kong, 1 July 1997. 254

China Christian Council and Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Church Leaders’ Informal Gathering 256



Communiqué from the gathering held in Seoul, Korea, 23 February 1995. 256

India 257

Expression of concern about violations of religious freedom and conflict 257

Letter to the Rev. Dr. Ipe Joseph, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, 1 February 1998. 257

Indonesia 258

Message to the 13th General Assembly of the Evangelical Christian Church in Irian Jaya 258

Letter sent January 1995. 258

Minute on Indonesia 259



Adopted by the Unit III Committee of the Central Committee, meeting in Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 259

Appeal for the release of protestors arrested by Indonesian security forces 260



Letter to H.E. President Kemusu Argamulja Suharto, 21 August 1996. 260

Appeal to the Government of Indonesia to show restraint and introduce 262

political reforms 262

Statement issued by the General Secretary, 15 May 1998. 262

Japan 262

Appeal for the release of detained church worker 262

Letter to H.E. Minoru Endo, Ambassador of Japan to the United Nations in Geneva, 25 March 1996. 262

Korea 263

Communiqué from the Meeting of Ecumenical Delegates from North and South Korea, Beijing, 27-28 January 1995 263

Living into Jubilee: Statement of the Fourth International Ecumenical Consultation on Peace and Reunification in Korea, Kyoto, Japan, 28 31 March 1995 264

Pakistan 270

Message of condolences on the death of the Rt. Rev. Dr. John Joseph, Roman Catholic Bishop of Faisalabad 270



Letter to Archbishop Simion Perrera of the Diocese of Karachi, Church of Pakistan, 7 May 1998. 270

Call for the repeal of “blasphemy laws” and the release of those being held under the charge of blasphemy 270



Letter to H.E. Munir Akram, Ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva, 12 May 1998. 270

Singapore 272

Lifting of boycott against Singapore Airlines 272

Action by the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-22 September 1995. 272

Sri Lanka 274

Appeal to parties involved in the Sri Lanka peace process 274

Statement issued by the General Secretary, 5 April 1995. 274

Appeal for respect of the sanctity of church buildings 275



Letter to H.E. President Chandrika Kumaranatunga, 25 July 1995. 275

Message of concern after police raids on the offices of the National Christian Council 275



Letter to H.E. Bernard A. B. Goonetilleke, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, 2 August 1995. 276

276


Appeal to Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to resume peace negotiations 276

Statement issued by the General Secretary, 2 November 1995. 276

Statement on Sri Lanka 277



Issued by the General Secretary, 20 November 1995 277

Appeal for cessation of military action 278



Letter to H.E. President Chandrika Kumaratunga, 3 May 1996 278

Appeal for inquiry into murder of church pastor 279



Letter to H.E. Chandrika Kumaratunga, President of Sri Lanka, 18 September 1997. 279

australasia 280

Australia 280

Expression of condolences to victims of massacre in Tasmania 280



Letter to the Rev. David Gill, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia, 30 April 1996. 280

Statement on aboriginal rights 281



Issued by the General Secretary, Geneva, 4 March 1998. 281

CARIBBEAN 282

Cuba 282

Statement on the intensified U.S. sanctions against Cuba and their assertion of extraterritoriality 282



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 15-20 September 1996. 282

Puerto Rico 283

Appeal for clemency for long-term prisoners 283

Letter to H.E. Bill Clinton, President of the United States of America, 8 January 1998. 283

EUROPE 285

Ecumenical Policy 285

Message from the World Council of Churches to the Second European Ecumenical Assembly, 25 June 1997 285

Albania 289

Minute on Albania 289



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 289

Statement on the crisis in Albania 289



Issued jointly by the General Secretaries of the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, 20 March 1997. 289

Armenia 290

Expression of concern about social tensions arising from election results 290

Letter to H.H. Karekin I, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, in Etchmiadzin, 27 September 1996. 290

Belarus 291

Expression of concern about pressures placed on the “Children of Chernobyl” Foundation 291

Letter to H.E. Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Belarus, 7 April 1997. 291

Cyprus 295

Statement on ethnic clashes in Cyprus 295

Issued on 12 August 1996. 295

Message on the division of Cyprus 296



Reply to His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of the Church of Cyprus, 19 September 1996. 296

Statement on the Situation in Cyprus 299



Adopted by the Executive Committee meeting at the Kykko Monastery, Cyprus, 12-15 February 1997. 299

France 301

Expression of concern about racism and xenophobia 301

Letter to Monsignor Joseph Duval, President of Council of Christian Churches in France, 6 September 1996, cf. p 138. 301

Expression of appreciation to the CIMADE Assembly for its determination to stand against the National Front 301



Letter to Mr. Jean Pierre Weben, President of CIMADE, the Paris-based ecumenical service agency, 18 December 1996. 301

Appeal for the release of archives relating to the impact on public health of nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia 303



Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, sent from Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 December 1998. 303

Portugal 305

Appeal against the sexual exploitation of children on Madeira 305

Letter to the Prosecutor-General of Portugal on 6 April 1998. 305

Romania 306

Minute on Religious Rights in Romania 306

Adopted by the Central Committee, in Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 306

Visits to Romanian State officials for church and religious affairs 306



Press release on the visit of the Coordinator for International Affairs in response to requests received from member churches in Romania, 23-24 March 1998. 306

Russian Federation 307

Appeals on behalf of ACT aid workers abducted in Chechnya 307

Letter to Mr. Charles R. Ajalat, Chairman of the Board of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), 30 September 1997. 307

Joint letter to H.E. Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation; and to Aslan Maskhadov, President, and Movlady Oudougov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Itchkeria, 24 October 1997. 308

Turkey 310

Appeal for protection of the premises of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul 310

Letter to His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios in Istanbul, 1 October 1996. 310

Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, 1 October 1996. 310

Request for information about alleged authorization to convert an Armenian church into a mosque 311



Letter to H.E. Tugay Ulugevik, Ambassador of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, 10 January 1997. 311

Request to rescind court decision to sentence a bishop of the Ecumenical Patriarchate 312



Letter to H.E. Sevket Kazan, Minister of Justice, 24 January 1997. 312

Expression of sympathy and concern following the bombing of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul 313



Letter to His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios, 3 December 1997. 313

Ukraine 313

Statement on the continuing disaster of Chernobyl 313

Issued on the tenth anniversary of the nuclear accident, 23 April 1996. 313

United Kingdom 314

Statement on the bombing in Omagh, Northern Ireland 314

Issued jointly by the Rev. Dr. Konrad Raise, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, and Mr. Keith Clements, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches, 17 August 1998. 314

Congratulations on British vote to ban privately-owned handguns 315



Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Tony Blair, 12 June 1997, cf p 79. 315

Yugoslavia (Former) 315

Appeal to churches to press for an extension of the cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina 315

Message to WCC and CEC member churches in countries of the former Yugoslavia, 28 April 1995. 315

Call for a new cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina 316



Statement issued in Geneva, 1 May 1995. 316

Consultation with church leaders from the Former Yugoslavia 318



Communiqué from the consultation held in Pécs, Hungary, 10-11 July 1995. 318

Appeal for the cessation of military actions in Bosnia 319



Letter to H.H. Patriarch Pavle of the Serbian Orthodox Church, 17 July 1995. 319

Message on the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia 320



Adopted by the Central Committee meeting in Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 320

Comment on the Dayton Agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina 323



Issued 22 November 1995. 323

Assurance of prayers for the Serbian Orthodox Church 325



Letter to H.H. Patriarch Pavle, 25 December 1996. 325

Appeal to church leaders to contribute to a non-violent, negotiated solution to the conflict in Kosovo 325



Joint letter from the general secretaries of CEC, the WCC and the LWF to their member churches in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, 10 March 1998. 325

Statement on the situation in Kosovo 326



Issued 14 October 1998. 326

LATIN AMERICA 328

Argentina 328

Condemnation of assassination of journalist Luis Cabezas 328



Identical letters to Mr. Mario Cocchi, Secretary-General of the Association of Graphic Reporters of the Republic, Mr. Juan Carlos Camaño, Secretary-General of the Press Workers Union of Buenos Aires, Mr. Hector D’Amico, Director of the weekly, “Noticias,” 12 February 1997. 328

Search for documents relating to charges against senior officials of the military government relating to their conduct of the “Dirty War” 329



Letter to the General Secretary from the heads of WCC member churches in Argentina, supported by Roman Catholic bishops Hesayne and Novak in Argentina, June 1997. 329

Letter to Pastor Heinrich Rusterholz, President of the Swiss Protestant Federation, 4 July 1997. 331

Letter to H.E. Walter B. Gyger, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Nations in Geneva, 4 July 1997. 333

Brazil 337

Expression of concern about the massacre in Eldorado dos Carajas and the plight of landless peasants in Brazil 337

Letter to H.E. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, 26 April 1996. 337

Chile 338

Support for Protestant Churches’ efforts to achieve equal treatment under the law 338

Letter to the Rev. Bishop Francisco Anabalón, President of the Council of Evangelical Pastors of Chile, 24 November 1997. 338

Communication on the 25th anniversary of the military coup d’état 341



Letter to the leaders of the Protestant, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic Churches in Chile, and to the leadership of the Chilean Jewish community on the 25th anniversary of the 11 September 1973 military coup d’état, 8 September 1998. 341

Colombia 343

Condemnation of assassination of human rights defender Dr. Eduardo Umaña Mendoza 343

Letter to H.E. Dr. Ernesto Samper Pizano, President of the Republic, 21 April 1998. 343

Appeal for protection of the staff of the Inter-congregational (Roman Catholic) Commission of Justice and Peace after its premises were raided. 346



Letter to Dr. Alfonso Gómez Méndez, the Attorney General of Colombia, 18 May 1998. 346

Colombia: On the Path of Dialogue and Encounter 349



Communiqué issued in Geneva, Switzerland, 19 August 1998. 349

El Salvador 350

Expression of condolences on the assassination of César Humberto López 350

Letter from staff members who were personal friends of the victim to the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Salvador, 20 April 1998. 350

Guatemala 351

Appeal for the release of Daniel Long, WCC representative in Guatemala 351

Letter to H.E. Ramiro de León Carpio, President of the Republic, 30 June 1995. 351

Condemnation of the torture and murder of Pastor Manuel Saquic Vásquez 354



Letter to H.E. Ramiro de León Carpio, President of the Republic, 12 July 1995. 354

Appeal for protection of threatened church leaders 355



Letter to H.E. Ramiro de León Carpio. President of the Republic, 9 August 1995. 355

Letter of protest following the deadly attack on returned refugees in the community of “Aurora, 8th of October” 356



Letter to H.E. Ramiro de León Carpio, President of the Republic, 9 October 1995. 356

Agreement on Socio-economic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation 361



Letter to Mr. Jean Arnault, Moderator of the Guatemala Peace Negotiations, 6 May 1996. 361

Condemnation of the assassination of Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala. 362



Letter to H.E. Alvaro Arzú, President of the Republic, 28 April 1998. 362

Letter to H.E. Monsignor Victor Hugo Martinez, President of the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, 28 April 1998. 364

Letter to H.E. Edward I. Cardinal Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City, 29 April 1998. 366

Mexico 367

Expression of deep concern about the attack on bishops of the Roman Catholic diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas and the pastoral delegation to Indigenous Peoples 367

Letter to H.E. Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, President of the Republic, 11 November 1997. 367

Peru 370


Appeal for protection of human rights defender, Ms Sofia Macher, General Secretary of the National Human Rights Coordination Group in Peru. 370

Letter to H.E. Alberto Pandolfi Arbulú, Prime Minister of Peru, 17 September 1998. Similar letters were sent to the Ministers of Justice and of the Interior. 370

Uruguay 371

Appeal for justice for families of the disappeared and Uruguayan society 371

Letter to H.E. Julio Ma. Sanguinetti, President of the Republic of Uruguay, ó October 1998. 371

middle east 375

Iran 375

New Openings for Muslim-Christian Dialogue 375



Press release on a staff visit to Iran, 19-22 April 1995. 375

Colloquium on the role of religions in the contemporary world 377



Press release issued at the conclusion of the colloquium in Geneva, 15-16 December 1995 377

Letter of concern on the assassination of a Christian minister 378



Letter to Mr. Sayyed Abdolmajid Mirdamadi of the Centre for International Cultural Studies in Teheran, 14 October 1996. 378

Communiqué of the Symposium on Religion and the Contemporary World 380



Issued in Teheran, Islamic Republic of Iran, 21-23 November 1996. 380

Iraq 383


Statement on US missile attacks 383

Issued in Geneva, 4 September 1996 383

Minute on US attacks on Iraq 383



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-20 September 1996. 383

A STATEMENT OF CONCERN 384

Minute on sanctions against Iraq 385

Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 11-19 September 1997. 385

WCC delegation visit 387



Press release on the official delegation visit to Iraq, 16-28 January 1998. 387

Statement on the Situation in Iraq 389



Adopted by the Executive Committee, Geneva, 17-20 February 1998. 389

Statement on U.S. and U.K. attacks on Iraq 393



Issued in Geneva, 17 December 1998. 393

Israel 394

Expression of condolences on the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 394

Letter to H.E. Yosef Lamdan, Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva, 6 November 1995. 394

Statement on the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 394



Issued by the General Secretary, 6 November 1995. 394

Statement on the bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv 396



Issued by the Rev. Dr. Wesley Ariarajah, Acting General Secretary, 5 March 1996. 396

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict 397

Statement on current situation in Palestine 397

Issued on 26 September 1996. 397

Statement on the Washington Accords on Middle East Peace 397



Issued by the General Secretary, 27 October 1998 397

Jerusalem 398

Report on Jerusalem visit 398

Press release issued upon return of Dr. Konrad Raise to Geneva after his first official visit as General Secretary to member churches in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, 15-21 May 1995. 398

Statement on the Status of Jerusalem 401



Issued by the Central Committee, Geneva, 14-22 September 1995. 401

Expression of concern about Israel’s intention to build a new settlement 404



Letter to the Heads of Churches and Christian Communities in Jerusalem, 13 March 1997. 404

Message of Solidarity to the Churches in Jerusalem 406



Sent by the Officers to Christians and Churches, 17 September 1997. 406

Statement on the status of Jerusalem 407



Adopted by the Eighth Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998. 407

Lebanon 411

Statement on Israeli attacks on Lebanon 411

Issued by the Rev. Dr. Wesley Ariarajah, Acting General Secretary, 16 April 1996. 411

Mecca 412

Condolences to families of victims 412

Issued by the General Secretary, 16 April 1997. 412

Palestine 414

Support for the Bethlehem 2000 Project 414

Letter to H.E. Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestine National Authority, 7 May 1998. 414

NORTH AMERICA 415

United States of America 415

Expression of condolences following the bombing in Oklahoma City 415



Letter to the Rev. Dr. William B. Moorer, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches, 27 April 1995. 415

Minute on US attacks on Iraq 416



Adopted by the Central Committee, Geneva, 12-20 September 1996 cf p 305. 416

Message on threatened US use of veto in UN Secretary-General election 416



Letter to the Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 7 November 1996. 416

Statement on US policy reversal on climate change targets 417



Issued in Geneva, 23 October 1997. cf. p 36. 417

Support for ecumenical appeals for clemency for Mr. Sylvester Adams in the USA 417



Letter to the Rev. L. Wayne Bryan, Executive Minister of the South Carolina Christian Action Council, 11 August 1995, cf. p 62. 417

Appeal for stay of execution of Karla Faye Tucker in the USA 417



Letter to Mr. John Shattuck, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, 3 February 1998, cf. p 61 . 417

Appeal for clemency of long-term Puerto Rican prisoners 418



Letter to H.E. Bill Clinton, President of the United States of America, 8 January 1998, cf. p 222. 418

pacific 419

Pastoral letter to the Evangelical Church of French Polynesia 419

Letter to Mr. Jacque Ihorai, President of the High Council of the Church in Papeete, Tahiti, 10 August 1995. 419

Appeal to the Government of France 420



Letter to H.E. Jacques Chirac, President of the Republic, 15 June 1995, cf. p 81. 420

Call to fast and pray for a halt to nuclear testing 420



Letter to members of Central Committee, member churches, national councils of churches and regional ecumenical organizations, 18 August 1995, cf. p 83. 420

Appeal for the release of archives relating to the impact on public health of nuclear weapons testing in French Polynesia 421



Letter to H.E. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, sent from Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 December 1998, cf p 237. 421

BY-LAWS OF THE BOARD FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (CCIA) 422

CCIA MEMBERSHIP 429

ccia MEETINGS 430

XLVI Meeting, Kitwe, Zambia, 24-30 June 1995 430

Report of the Board for International Affairs (CCIA) to the Unit III Committee of the Central Committee. 430

XLVII Meeting of the CCIA, Seoul, Korea, 15-21 July 1996 432



Report of the Board for International Affairs to the Unit III Committee of the Central Committee. 432

Common Understanding and Vision of the World Council of Churches 432

ccia staff 435

Foreword


It was the practice of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, from its formation in 1946, to publish annual narrative reports summarizing the work it had done in pursuit of the aims contained in its by-laws. Since 1973 more detailed quadrennial reports have been prepared to provide the churches, ecumenical organizations and the wider public with a more comprehensive resource.

This seventh volume of The Churches in International Affairs reproduces basic documents related to the work of the Commission, the development of ecumenical policy and the actions taken by the World Council of Churches in the field of international affairs between 1995 and 1998.

The WCC is a fellowship of some 340 member churches in more than 120 countries in all continents and from virtually all Christian traditions. The pamphlet, The Role of the World Council of Churches in International Affairs* clarifies the scope of the WCC’s authority in this field:

Through its public statements the WCC provides assessments of national and international events and political trends, recommends actions to member churches, communicates pastoral concern, expresses ecumenical solidarity, and makes representations and issues appeals to particular governments and inter-govern­mental bodies.

The Constitution and Rules are cautious with respect to the authority of statements issued by the Council:

While such statements may have great significance and influence as the expression of the judgment or concern of so widely representative a Christian body, yet their authority will consist only in the weight which they carry by their own truth and wisdom.

The Amsterdam Assembly (1948) made this even more explicit:



They will not be binding on any church unless that church has confirmed them, and made them its own. But the Council will only issue such statements in the light of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, the Lord, and the living Head of the Church; and in dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit, and in penitence and faith.

But this definition and popular perceptions often differ. For example, there is a widespread conception that the WCC is the counterpart of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus represents in a similar way and speaks for the rest of the Christian churches.

The Council has no constitutional authority over, and no right to speak on behalf of its own constituent churches, and less still on behalf of the large number of Christian churches who remain outside its membership.

For the first time, documents in this volume are reproduced in the original languages, accompanied by English language translations.

Special thanks to Ms Béatrice Merahi, Ms. Patricia Brüschweiler and Mr. Alexander Freeman for help in collecting and reviewing the material presented in this volume; to Ms Libby Visinand for her meticulous proof-reading; of the final text and to Mr. Pierre Beffa and Ms Denise Leger, WCC Librarians, for providing space and a congenial atmosphere for the compilation and editing of this volume.

abbreviations



ACT Action by Churches Together (ACT) is a global alliance of churches of the World Council of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation and their related aid agencies working to save lives and support communities during emergencies

CCA Christian Conference of Asia

CCEE Council of European Bishops' Conferences

CCIA Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches

CEC Conference of European Churches

CLAI Latin American Council of Churches

DOV Decade to Overcome Violence

JPIC Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation

KCF (North) Korean Christians Federation

LWF Lutheran World Federation

NCCCUSA National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

NCCK National Council of Churches in (South) Korea

POV Programme to Overcome Violence

WARC World Alliance of Reformed Churches

N.B. Unless otherwise indicated all documents contained in this volume, and references to committees, officers, consultations, assemblies, etc. are those of the World Council of Churches.

Moderator’s introduction

When reading the reports from the 1995-1998 quadrennium, one is immediately struck by the remarkable number of issues and events to which the World Council of Churches responded all over the globe, as well as the breadth and depth of the analyses and conviction embodied in those responses. This demonstrates in part the remarkable capabilities of the Council’s staff who help to steer WCC international affairs work, as well as the expanse of concerns and engagements of the member churches themselves. It also raises questions about who chooses how, when, and where the WCC will intervene.

Alongside monitoring many world events from 1995 -1998, during this period the WCC also initiated a rigorous examination of the nature of the ecumenical movement of which the WCC is a “privileged instrument.” This process came to be known by the title of its final report, the Common Understanding and Vision of the WCC (CUV). A central thrust of the CUV process was a re-articulation of the Council primarily as a fellowship of churches gathered together for a number of common purposes, as distinct from an organization set apart from the churches.

Occasionally, the WCC receives criticism for its stance on one or more public issues. Often implied in such criticism is that the Council is a distant from the socio-political or ethnical positions of the churches that constitute the Council, or that the WCC gets involved in too many such matters. Yet, the reality of more than 330 members churches spread across more than 100 countries is itself part of the complexity of world affairs to which the Council responds. When a crisis or difficulty erupts for one or more of these members, they often seek assistance from or accompaniment by the WCC. The size of the organization alone demonstrates that the reports contained in this book represent a significant subset of the concerns to which the WCC might have responded. Furthermore, this subset is chosen according to longstanding priorities evident in this quadrennium and previous ones – priorities set according to the rules and procedures of the Council, which is governed ultimately by the churches.

Thus churches working together in the WCC have established some considerable consistency in the concerns and perspectives they bring to issues like human rights, peace and disarmament, global governance and others, and this is one of the great assets of ecumenical heritage and tradition to which the Council has given significant leadership. In this regard, the CUV process reaffirmed the necessity of the WCC facilitating the churches in speaking together to promote a common Christian witness to the world.

Due to their differences in national origin and other circumstances, however, churches sometimes have contending perspectives on issues in international affairs. This makes speaking together with clarity and conviction more challenging. During the 1995-1998 period, this situation arose most prominently and controversially in the former Yugoslavia but also to some degree in Rwanda.

These and other circumstances of deadly civil strife, often aggravated by the political manipulation of religious symbols and heritage, accentuated the need for more concentrated and assertive work by the churches for peace with justice. Furthermore, a range of scholarly research on the causes and consequences of civil conflicts fueled in part by the exploitation of religious sentiment came to one profoundly important common conclusion. Put very simply, religion can be part of the problem or part of the solution. When religious sentiment tends to contribute to or exacerbate violence and oppression, the best antidote is for religious leaders to renew and reinvigorate the efforts to deescalate the conflict, to creatively search for more peaceful mediation or resolution, and to work tirelessly for justice.

During the period 1995-1998, the Programme to Overcome Violence took shape in recognition, on the one hand, of some churches’ too frequent indifference to or complicity in violence and oppression, and on the other hand, some churches’ careful, creative and sacrificial contributions to peace with justice. Building on the work done and the models forged in the POV, and in the face of so many threats to peace with justice, the 1998 Harare Assembly called for a Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace, 2001-2010. It is held in conjunction with the United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World.

The documents contained here give a flavor of the issues, concerns, and perspectives that gave rise to the DOV within the totality of the WCC work in International affairs. More importantly, they stand as one more installment in a much longer testimony about the still unfolding ecumenical effort to witness faithfully to peace with justice in the world.

Janice Love

Columbia, South Carolina, April 2004

director’s introduction

The quadrennium 1995-1998 was one that called for renewed reflection by the churches joined in the fellowship of the World Council of Churches on their role in international affairs.

The period marked the fiftieth anniversaries of the end of the Second World War (Message, p 72), the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations (Memorandum and Recommendations, p 92) and the founding of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (Message on Church, Community and State, p 17).

It called for reflections, too, on the impact of the Cold War that began in 1946 and led both to a nuclear weapons standoff between the world’s two great superpowers and to proxy wars between them for strategic advantage throughout what became known as the “Third World”. The Cold War shaped world history in an unprecedented way. It educated generations in a simplistic and militaristic view of human reality that divided nations and peoples in a cosmic struggle between good and evil. The collapse of Communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought the Cold War to a formal end. However, its nefarious impact continued to be felt all over the post-Cold War world, not least among and within the churches – especially those in the former communist nations of Eastern Europe – as Christians sought to come to terms with decades of ideological confrontation, repression and divisions within their communities. The WCC’s role during the time of the Cold War, when it sought to foster dialogue and to provide a human bridge across the “Iron Curtain,” was again and repeatedly called into question, especially its approach to human rights (cf. Statement on Human Rights, p 51).

The ethnocentric and narrowly nationalistic conflicts, especially in the Balkans and the Caucasus following the collapse of the Soviet Union continued to rage (cf. pp 248ff), and conflicts in the Great Lakes Region (cf. pp 157ff) spread like wildfire throughout the whole of Central Africa. In the face of reports of massacres of civilian populations, the international community was incredibly slow to respond. When it did act, its response was most often in the form of massive military action, reflecting still the mentality of the Cold War. The WCC issued insistent appeals for a more differentiated approach to what were now often referred to in international parlance as “complex conflicts,” calling for more intensive diplomatic efforts and non-military solutions.

The debates in the WCC Central Committee were often heated, especially with respect to the situation in the Former Yugoslavia, leading to the need for further reflection on how best the ecumenical movement could contribute to peaceful solutions to its own and the world’s problems (Note on the Contemporary Role of the Church, p 23).

Studies were undertaken to help guide the churches and the international community in search of ways to respond to conflict that could offer constructive alternatives to those prescribed by the Cold War mentality. A Memorandum and Recommendation on the Application of Sanctions (p 8) was adopted and shared with the UN Security Council. The CCIA developed a Programme to Overcome Violence and engaged in intensive work on Impunity, Truth and Reconciliation to help the churches deal not only with the terrible symptoms of social reality, but also at a fundamental level with the root causes of armed conflicts.

Often the question is posed: What power does the WCC have to impose its thinking on world affairs? As stated in the Foreword to this volume, the Council has always been cautious not to overstate its power or authority. Experience shows that only very seldom have WCC statements, appeals, studies and programmes had a notable impact on the immediate course of events. Results, if they come, are often only seen after decades of patient work. However the very construct of the WCC as a “fellowship of churches” determined to stay together in the pursuit of the unity of the Church and of humankind, even in the face of conflict of opinion and political adversity, is itself a witness to the redeeming power of the Holy Spirit.

The basis of ecumenical social thought was laid at the Oxford Conference on Church, Community and State, held in 1937 in the shadow of the looming demon of National Socialism in Germany. At a time when churches were sorely tempted, either out of fear or conviction, to give in to the dominant ideology of the State, the Conference issued the ringing call, “Let the Church be the Church!” Against the experience of this quadrennium, the Eighth WCC Assembly held in Harare, Zimbabwe, reiterated that call. The “power” of the WCC resides in its ability constantly and consistently to remind the powers that God alone rules over all of history and to keep faith with the promise that

“…the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,” and God himself will be with them, he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away. (Rev. 21:4f)

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminded us, this requires “costly discipleship,” for the principalities and powers – and sometimes even the churches – are seldom pleased to be reminded that they, too, stand under the judgment of the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Dwain C. Epps

Geneva, March 2004

INTERNATIONAL ISSUES AND TRENDS

Ecumenical Policy

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