Archbishops call on UN for mediation and protection in Zimbabwe
Thursday 29th May 2008The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Cape Town yesterday spoke to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, to express their grave concern about the increasing violence of what appears to be a sustained campaign against the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
Joint statement on Zimbabwe by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Cape Town after speaking with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon:
"On May 18th there was a sharp escalation of violence when Sunday services were disrupted and worshippers beaten or prevented from attending church by security and police force attacks on churches across Harare diocese. Harassment and intimidation is their daily bread; and there is a continuing failure to enforce court orders permitting Anglicans to worship in their Cathedral church in Harare and other parishes.
This is a clear violation of Article 18 of the UN Charter on Human Rights which expressly gives people the right to worship and freedom of thought- quite apart from the other fundamental human rights, the right to assemble and speak and take part in free and fair elections, which are daily denied Zimbabweans. Given this political climate of fear, and now the intimidation of our Anglican brothers and sisters, especially in Harare, we are concerned to know what the UN security council and SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional leaders are doing to defend Mothers' Union meetings at churches and prevent people being torn away from altar rails on the orders of ruling party or state officials. We plead once more for immediate high level SADC and UN mediation and monitoring to ensure a free and fair presidential run-off, and the protection of its citizens from state-organised violence. This is not simply a matter of vote rigging: the events of the last ten days have sharpened everyone's concern, as we hear of murderous attacks on legitimate political activists and now also brutality towards men, women and children meeting for Christian worship. We urge increased international pressure and effective mediation to prevent further suffering.
In the meantime we assure not only our Anglican brothers and sisters but all Zimbabweans of our love and prayers for them at this time. As fellow Christians called by Jesus to be channels of His peace, with justice and reconciliation, Anglicans around the world stand in solidarity with you.
'Be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ' (2 Tim 2:1)"