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Kirkerådskonferanse

25.08.2014
Forrige uke møttes kirkeledere fra Rwanda, Burundi, DR Kongo og Norge til en konferanse under overskriften "Women and men building safe communities".

Fra 20.-24. august var deltakerne fra de protestantiske kirkene og den katolske kirke samlet på Modum bad. Hensikten med konferansen var todelt: For det første, ambisjonen om et trygt samfunn, og for det andre, likestillingen mellom kvinner og menn på veien mot målet. Konferansen skapte rom for refleksjon rundt forskjellige temaer som er knyttet til vold – i hjemmet, i samfunnet, mellom land – og samtaler om hvordan kirkene kan motvirke volden. Fredag 22. august ble det holdt en høring om situasjonen i Øst-Kongo og hva det internasjonale samfunnet kan gjøre for en regional løsning. Blant annet statssekretær Hans Brattskar deltok på høringen. Hans innlegg kan du lese her. Bildet er hentet fra denne høringen.

Konferansen vedtok følgende slutterklæring:

 

Pastoral Conference of the Church Councils and Catholic Church

of Norway, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda,

at Modum Bad, August 20-24, 2014.

 

Final Declaration

We, the delegations of Christian councils and the Catholic church of Norway, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi and Rwanda, have met in our annual church council conference at Modum Bad, Norway, in the period of August 20-24, 2014.

We sincerely are thankful to the CCN (Christian Council of Norway) for having spoken to the Norwegian government, which continues to make it possible for the annual conference to take place.

This conference has been a continuation from earlier conferences, and we have been guided by the word of God in accordance with the main theme “Women and men building safe communities”. During the conference we discussed and reflected on the following topics:

  • Church as a safe haven.
  • Abusive violence and its consequences for individual identity.
  • Violence and abuse cause destructive images of God.
  • Empowering men to stop violence against women and children.
  • A regional solution to the challenges of Eastern DR Congo.
  • Talking about taboos – Jesus and the bleeding woman.
  • Power relations and abuse of power.
  • The freedom in Christ – freedom from gender roles.
  • Violence in families – how should the Church respond.

Following this conference, we, the participants, agreed on the following message:

We acknowledge that both victims and perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence, are exposed to shame, condemnation, isolation and discrimination from their families, local communities and churches.

We acknowledge that causes and consequences of violence are complex, and that shame, condemnation, isolation and discrimination are among them.

We acknowledge that some of the teachings of our churches have contributed to the upholding of taboos, and continue to do so, and that it is necessary to create an environment of open dialogue in order to address these issues.

We confess as church leaders not to have done enough to break the silence surrounding these issues. We therefore acknowledge that church leaders have a special responsibility to break this silence.

 

Commitments:

Based on our conversations and our reflections, we commit ourselves to serve God and each other by continuing to build His kingdom on earth, a kingdom filled with peace, love, joy, freedom and equality for all human beings. We stand by the victims of injustice and violence, and we pray for a change of heart of perpetrators.

In order to achieve this, we commit to implement the following actions and strategies, as essential steps towards our goal:

  1. We will review the commitments made at the Gahini conference in Rwanda in 2013 and make renewed efforts for their implementation.
  2. We will pay attention to human trafficking, which is a gross violation of human dignity, and address this problem in whatever ways we are capable of addressing it.
  3. We will promote dialogue between governments, churches and civil society in the Great Lakes region, aiming at solving the problem of violence, especially that towards vulnerable people.
  4. The churches in Norway will look for funding to perform an evaluation of the church council conferences. The Norwegian churches, in consultation with the churches in the Great Lakes region, will also suggest a new form of partnership, which to a greater extent includes capacity building into the relationship.
  5. Revise the project of the councils of Burundi, Rwanda and DRC to repatriate refugees in the region, and involve all three councils and the Catholic church, as was the original intention.
  6. The councils and the Catholic church in each country will report to the other councils and the Catholic church their progress on each of these commitments by March 31, 2015.

 

Requests to the international community:

We acknowledge that the challenges of the Great Lakes region are complex and globalized, and a regional solution to the problem of violence requires that foreign governments do their part. We therefore request the international community to:

  1. Increase its efforts to stop the illegal resource extraction which contributes to violence.
  2. Involve itself to a greater extent in the prevention of election related violence in the Great Lakes countries, and make sure that the elections will be properly monitored.

 

Modum Bad, on August 24, 2014

 

Sylvestre Bizimana

General Secretary

National Council of Churches of Burundi (CNEB)

Samuel Rugambage

General  Secretary

Protestant Council of Rwanda (CPR)

 

 

 

Andre Milenge Mwenelwata

2nd Vice President

Église du Christ au Congo (ECC)

 

 

 

Knut Refsdal 

Secretary General

Christian Council of Norway (CCN)

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