AFRICA/DR CONGO - Bishops of the Great Lakes region call for an end to violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Monday, 23 October 2023 bishops   peace  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "Everything must be done to put an end to the suffering of the people of the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)", say the members of the Association of Bishops' Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC) in a "fraternal appeal" to those responsible in the Great Lakes region.
The Catholic bishops of Central Africa, who met on the sidelines of the World Synod in Rome from October 16 to 18, 2023, encouraged the region's politicians to "build bridges of peace between our states (Burundi, DRC and Rwanda) and our peoples "by creating favorable conditions for living together in fraternity". "We are aware that peacebuilding is not an isolated act, but a common and collective work involving different levels of society and structures of different orders," the appeal says. "In the spirit of cooperation, ACEAC thanks all those, who, in the international community, in our governments, our institutions and our communities, work tirelessly and sometimes at the risk of their lives to restore the hope of justice and peace to our peoples," the message said. "On the other hand, we call on all those who continue to sow death, devastation and division in our region, from far or near, to listen to the Church's call for universal solidarity and to be guided by the search for integral human development", the bishops continued. "Our common nature as migrants on this earth teaches us that we live from the fruits of the trees that others have planted. Let us not focus on destroying everything, including other human beings, but on planting more trees for future generations". In particular, the bishops recommended that the young people of the three states (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda) not give in to manipulation, incitement to hatred and division. The conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, involving local armed groups and those from other countries in the Great Lakes region, is the bloodiest since World War II, with around six million victims. According to a study published in January 2008 by the International Rescue Committee, a total of around 5.4 million people were killed by violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2007. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2023)