Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov 20, 2019 / 00:16 am
Bishops and Catholic leaders from West Africa concluded a two-day meeting last week by reaffirming their commitment to work for an end to the violence plaguing the region.
“[T]he Church cannot remain insensitive to the magnitude and the consequences of the drama in which populations are plunged,” said participants in the meeting.
“We reaffirm our commitment to collaborate with all people of good will so that, in an emergency, we will put a stop to the killings and the displacement of the populations, that their causes are eradicated, that the victims are not abandoned on their own, but that their material, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual care is insured.”
They also pledged to work for “effective conflict prevention, and lasting peace and sustainable living, especially through the practice of dialogue, justice and reconciliation.”
A group of bishops, priests, and delegates from bishops’ conferences in Burkina, Niger, Mali, Ivory Coast and Ghana met Nov. 12-13 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to discuss growing instability the region.
The meeting was organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which has been offering food, water, and shelter to those affected by the burgeoning humanitarian crisis, as well as long-term development projects aimed at agriculture, health care and education.
The Sahel region of West Africa is currently facing extreme poverty, food scarcity, and unemployment. Violence has risen in recent years, leaving millions of people displaced.
Such challenges – and how to address them – were discussed by participants at the CRS meeting. At the conclusion of the gathering, the participants issued a statement pledging to work for peace and stability in the area.
The current crisis in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger is complex, they said in the statement, and it cannot be properly understood without taking into account a full array of historical, cultural, religious, economic, political, and geographic factors.