October 26, 2011
In light of recent regional events, we, the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (ARLPI), feel compelled to offer this brief statement. The current trend of using violence to address political, social, economic, ethnic, and religious concerns is damaging our continent and destabilizing our world. Violent responses to the inevitable conflicts that arise between individuals and collectives result in the destruction of lives and property and the disruption of development.
We at ARLPI find the recent events in Libya particularly disturbing. The past weeks’ destructiveness, abuse of human rights, and disrespect for the dead are deplorable. Human life is sacred and dead bodies deserve respect. The actions committed in Libya provide negative examples to our children and should be roundly condemned.
It is the duty of all global citizens to redress these wrongs. We request world bodies to step up their efforts to address these destabilizing trends. Charters by international bodies such as the U.N. and A.U. that promote human rights and nonviolence should be observed and respected.
As citizens of Uganda, a country that has recently experienced its share of instability, we hope the situation here will not devolve into the violent disorder that has enveloped some of our neighboring nations. We implore all fellow Ugandans to resist the temptations of violence and remember the promise of human respect. Furthermore, we call on our fellow citizens, from government leaders to individuals, to utilize the peace building resources at their disposal. It is one of the duties of religious leaders and cultural elders to serve as bridges between conflicting parties. Employ us in these endeavors.
Misunderstanding and conflict are central to the human condition. Unavoidable, the question is: how should we deal with conflict and dispute? We strongly believe the answer is dialogue and nonviolent engagement. Recent events in Libya and our region highlight this truth and the urgency with which we need to embrace it.
Together for peace,
+ Rt. Rev. Johnson Gakumba
((Chairman ARLPI) Bishop Diocese of Northern Uganda)
* All Hajji Sheik Musa Khalil (the Khadi Acholi) - Vice Chairman ARLPI
+ Most Rev. John Baptist Odama (Archbishop of Gulu) - Member ARLPI
+ Rt. Rev. Macleod Baker Ochola II (Retired Bishop Diocese of Kitgum)
+ Fr. Julius Orach (the Dean of Orthodox Church) - Member ARLPI
+ Rt. Rev. Benjamin Ojwang (Bishop of Kitgum Diocese) - Member ARLPI
+ Rt. Rev. Nelson Onono Onweng (Retired Bishop Diocese of Northern Uganda) - Member ARLPI
+Pr. Lisa David (SDA Resident Pastor Gulu)
+Pr. Patrick Okecha (Overseer Born Again Faith Federation)