African churches condemn violence in Middle East

 The ecumenical All Africa Conference of Churches, AACC, has joined religious leaders around the world in calling for an end to the violence in the Gaza Strip.

A statement issued in Nairobi on Wednesday. and signed by the new AACC general Secretary, Rev Dr Andrew Karamaga (Rwandese), said the churches were appalled by the conflict and called on the warring parties to lay down their weapons.

The AACC, which comprises 173 churches and Christian Councils in 40 African countries with an estimated 120 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Evangelical and African Instituted churches expressed concern that already over 560 innocent lives including children have been lost since December 27, 2008 when the fighting broke out.

It pointed out that ironically the violence had begun began barely three weeks after the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations Day for Human Rights.

The statement said the war in the Gaza strip was a serious violation of people's God-given human rights. It welcomed the decision by the United Nations Security Council to work towards cessation of hostilities.

"We urge the warring parties together with the international community to Endeavour to bring the parties to a negotiation table. History has taught us that war has never resolved any conflict and differences are resolved at negotiating tables", stressed the church statement.

The statement observed that reports from Gaza indicate that hospitals are running out of essential medical supplies while at the same time huge consignments of these essential supplies were held up at border points.

It concluded: "the deliberate move to block off humanitarian support for thousands of people is callous and should not be condoned in our modern civilized world. We therefore urge the concerned parties to urgently re-open the borders to allow the delivery of these essential commodities, pointed the church statement, while calling upon all people of goodwill to continue in prayer for lasting solution to the Middle East crisis."

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