Church leaders united against war in Iraq: War would have unacceptable humanitarian consequences

News and Press Release
Originally published
Geneva, February 5, 2003 - Responding to the threat of military action in Iraq, European church leaders today issued a united call against war in Iraq, saying that the humanitarian consequences of such a war would be unacceptable.
The religious leaders issued a 9-point statement at a meeting convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in consultation with the Conference of European Churches (CEC), the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCCCUSA) and the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC).

Raising concerns about the humanitarian consequences of a war, the church leaders said that "large-scale displacement of people, the breakdown of state functions, the possibility of civil war and major unrest in the whole region," would be unacceptable humanitarian consequences of a war.

"The plight of Iraqi children and the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis over the past 12 years of sanctions weighs heavily on our hearts. In the present situation, we strongly affirm long-standing humanitarian principles of unconditional access to people in need."

Action by Churches Together (ACT) International - a global alliance of churches and related agencies working in the field of humanitarian relief of which MECC is a member - also participated at the meeting in Berlin, Germany.

The church leaders further cautioned against the potential social, cultural and religious, as well as diplomatic long-term consequences of such a war, saying "we should seek cooperation for peace, justice and human dignity".

The meeting was hosted by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).