SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN UKRAINE AND RUSSIA IN ASSOCIATION CALL TO STOP VIOLENCE IN DONBAS
Heads and representatives of churches and religious organizations in Ukraine and Russia supported the efforts of the international community aiming “to halt the bloodshed, to establish peace in Ukraine on the basis of universally recognized principles of international relations”.
This is stated in the communiqué that was the result of open dialogue during the meetings of interfaith roundtable, held in the capital of Norway on September 11, 2014, according to the Institute for Religious Freedom.
“We deeply mourn and pray for all victims of the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, both among civilians and the military,” states the final document.
The delegates of the confessions of Ukraine and Russia stated that despite the presence of both common and different views about the causes, events and consequences of the current crisis, their purpose is witnessing the truth and service to attain peace.
“We call each of the conflict participants to avoid under any circumstances the actions that humiliate human dignity, not to use torture, to counter kidnappings, including for ransom, and to counter looting”, the religious leaders of Ukraine and Russia stressed. Representatives of churches and religious organizations urged all believers to continue praying for peace in Ukraine and to promote peace to the extent possible.
“As religious leaders we’d like to draw special attention to the need for compliance in the conflict zone with the right to freedom of belief. Violent actions towards clergy and believers, churches and houses of worship of any of the confessions existing in Donetsk and Luhansk regions are inadmissible,” goes the communiqué adopted in Oslo. The document also states that humanitarian aid aimed at alleviating the suffering of the residents of Donbas, internally displaced persons and refugees, should be provided in accordance with international standards. Participants from Ukraine and Russia expressed readiness “to continue the dialogue in order to achieve mutual understanding and strengthen fraternal relations between our peoples.”
As reported, at the initiative of the Norwegian Bible Society and supported by the Government of Norway the interfaith roundtable discussion with religious leaders of Ukraine and Russia took place in Oslo. The purpose of the dialogue was to discuss the situation that emerged between the Church and faithful of the countries, and to find ways to reconcile the two peoples.