FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 1998
Church and Peace, an ecumenical network of more than 70 churches, Christian communities and peace organizations in Europe active in nonviolent conflict resolution, calls for an immediate cessation of the bombing of Iraq.
The most recent hinderance of the United Nations weapons inspections is unacceptable. The Iraqi government must allow the UN inspectors free access to all military installations. However, military force will not be effective in reversing the decisions of the Iraqi leadership; such use of force is contrary to recognized human rights and Christian ethic imperatives.
We join the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the United States in condemning the military attack on Iraq by the United States and Great Britain. This use of violence on the eve of Jewish Hanukkah, Islamic Ramadan and Christian Christmas will not only kill many Iraqi civilians but also render impossible any further negotiations with Iraqi leaders. In addition, the danger of escalation of the conflict and further destabilization of the entire region cannot be ignored.
We call on all political leaders to support the efforts of the UN, particularly UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, in pursuing all possible nonviolent solutions to the conflict and stopping the flow of arms into the Gulf region.
There is no justification for carrying out a war on millions of innocent Iraqi children, women and men who have already experienced extreme suffering due to the actions of Saddam Hussein's government, earlier military attacks and the effects of economic sanctions.
We urge Christians and Christian communities, churches and organizations in all countries in Europe and around the world to not become accomplices to this military terror through indifference or pretended neutrality. We should listen to the voices of our ecumenical partners in Iraq and call our respective governments and churches to actively protest the renewed bombing of Iraq. As Christians and Christian communities we are called to stop the reign of terror, violence and counter-violence and to work for a nonviolent resolution of conflict.
General Secretary, Church & Peace