A declaration opposing military action against Iraq and signed by church leaders from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific, was delivered yesterday to members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council by the World Council of Churches (WCC). The declaration is signed by over 100 church leaders, including the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser and the general secretaries of the six regional ecumenical organizations (REOs).
The signatures were gathered in response to an urgent appeal by the WCC and the REOs over the past few days. More signatures are being collected, and an updated list will be sent to UN Security Council members at the end of the week.
The church leaders "express their continued opposition to a war against Iraq, and offer a joint appeal for peace" says a letter to the UN ambassadors by Peter Weiderud, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.
The cover letter calls on the Security Council to uphold the principles of the UN Charter "by resisting pressures to join in pre-emptive military strikes against a sovereign state", and encourages the search for non-military solutions. Weiderud notes that the church leaders also call on the Government of Iraq "to comply with binding UN Security Council Resolutions and cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors".
In other WCC advocacy efforts, WCC international affairs staff met last week with representatives of Mexico, Chile, Cameroon, Guinea, Angola and Pakistan at their diplomatic missions in Geneva. Weiderud notes that "At this moment, these countries are playing a critical role in defending the principles of the UN Charter and resisting the pressure to legitimate pre-emptive military attack." He said that the WCC delegations are asking that these countries press for more time for weapons inspections, and reject calls to go to war.
The WCC has placed the church leaders' declaration on the web with a sign-up form so that others can indicated their support for the advocacy work of the churches seeking non-military solutions to the crisis.
The declaration, signatures and form for support is found at: