(New York, 18 April 2008)
Senior leaders of different faiths from Religions for Peace joined an international movement to help ban cluster bombs, which like landmines kill and maim innocent civilians indiscriminately. More than 60 senior religious leaders from Religions for Peace signed an international appeal by faith leaders to ban cluster bombs. The worldwide appeal was coordinated by the London-based Cluster Munitions Coalition, a network of two hundred civil society groups, including non-governmental organizations, religious communities, and professional associations.
“For more than 40 years, cluster bombs have killed and wounded innocent people, causing untold suffering, loss and hardship for thousands in more than 20 countries across the planet,” the religious leaders’ appeal said. “The voices of those whose lives have already been shattered by cluster munitions call us to take meaningful and courageous action. Our faith traditions call us to stand with those who have suffered, and to work for the well-being of the human family through relationships of respect, justice, and peace.”
The 150 signatories included The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu, a former Religions for Peace Co-President and Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa. He was joined by The V. Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Moderator of Religions for Peace, and members of the Executive Council of the Religions for Peace World Council, including: Ms. Farida Ali, President Emeritus of the Islamic Heritage Society; Rev. Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai; Most Rev. John Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria; and Chief Rabbi David Rosen, President of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, said, “If we can help to stop these exceptionally cruel and indiscriminate weapons, we will be serving our human family. The Global Day of Action to Ban Cluster Bombs, 19 April, is one key action in this campaign. The coalition is trying to demonstrate the broad support of civil society, and Religions for Peace is working to foster multi-religious cooperation to build peace by eliminating these weapons.”