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Statement on Libya

In a public statement issued 4 May 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland the general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, said that the power and political will being used in Libya to protect the safety and interests of the Libyan people «must be directed away from the use of armed force» and «channelled into negotiations to end the bloodshed» now consuming Libya.

05 May 2011

It is with great concern that we have been following the crisis and armed conflicts in Libya since February. The developments since then are dragging on with grave consequences, especially for civilians besieged by the armed forces and present regime of Colonel Gadhafi, also attacked in their homes and communities. We pray to God with concern and dismay, for mercy and for their safety. The protection of human lives and human rights must be a major priority for all authorities.

Considerable power and international political will has been mobilized to protect the safety and legitimate interests of the people of Libya. That power and will must be directed away from the use of armed force. It must be channelled into negotiations to end the bloodshed, to establish a lasting cease-fire and to prepare for a transitional, representative governmental authority that can tackle the difficult work of finding non-violent and just solutions.

We must also call attention to the many people who are bereaved, injured, giving care to the ever-increasing numbers of casualties, the displaced and all those at risk as a result of the ongoing conflicts and violence in Libya today. May God be with them and save their lives. The work of the ACT Alliance and other humanitarian organizations in border camps and resettlement programs deserves support. Countries, communities and churches who welcome refugees are showing the way forward with their actions.

International and regional support is needed for a negotiated political settlement to address the crisis in Libya, as well as for emergency relief and for the path toward peace with justice that must lie ahead.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

WCC general secretary