Peace vigil today at Downing Street

 Two Christian Peace Organisations, Pax Christi and the Fellowship of Reconciliation, will hold a prayer vigil at Downing Street on 20 March for all victims of war and violence Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pat Gaffney of Pax Christi said: "The people of Afghanistan are now living through their eighth year of war following the tragedy of 11 September 2001. 20 March 2009 marks the 6th anniversary of the start of the war with Iraq. Our vigil is to remember the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, to pray for all those tens of thousands who have died in war and violence over the past years and to repent at the role our nation has played in these wars"

According to the Nobel Prize winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, the budgetary cost to the UK alone of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach £18 billion by the year 2010. If the social costs within the UK are added, the total impact on the UK will exceed £20 billion

143 and 178 military personnel have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively

In March 2008 Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul was kidnapped and murdered in Iraq. The Christian community of Iraq has decreased from 1.4 million in 2003 to around 600,000 today and continues to experience persecution

The vigil, which will run between 4 - 5 pm, will include times public prayer where names of those who had died will be read out.

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