The escalating protests, accompanying violence, and increasing polarisation in Iraq are of grave concern for all who care for this country and its people, said World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit on 5 November.
“The World Council of Churches, which is working to promote social cohesion in Iraq through inter-religious cooperation among its many different religious communities, rejects and denounces the use by security forces of excessive violence against protestors, which has resulted in the deaths and injuries of many,” he said. “Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights of all human beings.”
The demands of the Iraqi people for social justice, equality, and life in dignity are legitimate, continued Tveit. “Their voices must be heard and respected,” he said. “Violence is not a solution, neither from the authorities nor the protestors.”
Tveit called on the government, decision makers and the people of Iraq to engage in dialogue in order to identify better ways of moving towards an inclusive society, respecting the equal rights of all people and providing the means for life in dignity.
“The continuous confrontations contribute to greater insecurity for all and prevent the building of trust within the society and nation,” Tveit said. “We pray for the victims and their families.”
Tveit also urged prayers for the people of Iraq, and for its political and religious leaders. “May our Lord grant them the wisdom to address the challenges they are facing peacefully, and to move together towards reconstruction and a sustainable peace founded on justice and inclusion,” he said.