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WCC Assembly addresses contemporary public issues

Peace, religious freedom are among topics addressed

November 13, 2013

WCC youth

Young Christians demonstrate their advocacy for peace during the WCC's 10th Assembly. —WCC staff photo

BUSAN, South Korea

Politicization of religion, rights of religious minorities and stateless people, peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula and just peace served as subjects of the public statements adopted at the World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea.

After an intensive process, which involved the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA), the WCC officers and the WCC executive and central committees in 2012 and 2013, the statements were presented to the WCC Assembly for adoption on Nov. 8, the closing day of the Assembly.

At the assembly the delegates also expressed concern on “Christian presence and witness in the Middle East,” the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Armenian Genocide of 1915, themes in the minutes presented in Busan.

The statement titled Politicization of Religion and Rights of Religious Minorities calls on the global ecumenical community to mediate with their respective governments “to develop policies of providing effective protection of persons and communities belonging to minority religions against threats or acts of violence from non-state actors.”

The statement also calls for “concerted and coordinated efforts on the part of religious, civil society and state actors in order to address violations of rights of religious minorities and their freedom of religion and belief”.

Through the statement on Peace and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula, churches “call upon all stakeholders in the region to participate in a creative process for building peace on the Korean peninsula by halting all military exercises on the Korean peninsula, by ceasing foreign intervention, withdrawing foreign troops and reducing military expenditures”.

Another statement titled Human Rights of Stateless People, calls on the “churches to engage in dialogue with states to adopt policies which confer nationality to stateless people and provide proper documentation.”

The text also encourages churches, civil society, human rights entities, United Nations agencies and regional organizations to collaborate effectively to reduce and eradicate statelessness.

On the Way of Just Peace was another significant statement, which affirms that “Peace constitutes a pattern of life that reflects human participation in God’s love and care for the world and all God’s creation.”

With this affirmation, it recommends concrete actions and invokes commitment to share “God’s love for the world by seeking peace and protecting life.”

“Together we commit to protecting human dignity, doing justice in our families and communities, transforming conflicts without violence and banning all weapons of mass destruction,” read the statement.

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