Bishops urge leaders to recommit to initiative on ”Silencing the Guns” in Africa

The 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) took place from July 25 to August 1, 2022 in Accra, Ghana

The leadership of the symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has challenged political leaders to live up to their pledge to end violent conflicts on the continent .

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in 2017, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council adopted the roadmap of steps to ”Silence the Guns” by 2020.

The call is contained in a statement by the Cardinal Elect and President of SECAM, Bishop Richard Baawobr on Wednesday.

The resolution came at the end of the 19th plenary assembly of SECAM held in Ghana.

The SECAM also recognised that the loss of life and displacement of thousands of people, as well as the challenge of terrorism and extremism in some parts of the continent, are serious concerns that require further efforts by African Union (AU) member states.

The bishops urged social, political stakeholders and decision-makers to take the responsibility of the management of countries within the continent.

“We invite all our peoples to be alert to the situations of insecurity and collectively seek solutions to the problem, the Church must take an important part in this search.

“This is why the Church must play its prophetic role, by firmly, clearly denouncing situations of insecurity and their causes.

“We urge leaders and socio-political decision-makers to put in place the structures and conditions that discourage irregular migration: good governance, employment opportunities, multifaceted security, among others.

“We also urge transit and host countries to respect the rights and human dignity of migrants.

“Intending migrants, especially young people, who seek to exercise the right to migrate, should do so in a manner that is administratively acceptable, youths shouldn’t lose hope but hold on to God through a life of holiness.

“We urge Christian communities to develop an active pastoral care for migration which can be broken down into four steps of actions: welcome, protect, promote and integrate,” it stated.

They enjoined the church to hearken to the call of Pope Francis and live a synod process of reflection on its vocation to promote communion, participation and mission.

“We are now entering the continental phase whose assembly will be celebrated in the month of March 2023, we invite all faithful to support this dynamism and make theirs through prayer and lifestyle.

“We urge you in the spirit of synodality, to listen to the cry of the poor and earth by caring for the environment, fighting against climate change and promoting social justice for the needy and the poor.

“As a family of God in Africa and Madagascar, we remain committed to engaging the world of media through the traditional, modern and social means of communication and the new discoveries of the digital era.

“We shall intensify the ethical and technical formation of the professionals and practitioners of Church communications while engaging with the philosophies and ideologies that underpin contemporary media institutions, practice and expertise in order to help make them agents of communion, reconciliation and peace,” it stated.

The clerics further thanked God for helping them pass through the hardships linked to COVID-19 and giving SECAM the intelligence and strength to continue working.

“We express our deep gratitude to Pope Francis, for his message of encouragement.

“We are sincerely grateful to the Ghanaians, all the members of the SECAM Secretariat, and all the bodies that contributed to the success of this 19th SECAM Assembly.

“We express our gratitude to the outgoing executives of SECAM led by His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo.

“We wish the incoming executives led by Bawoobr success in the great mission that the Church has entrusted to them,” they said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the AU’s campaign on “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020” aims to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars, violent conflicts, human rights violations, and humanitarian disasters.

The campaign also aims to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa. “Silencing the Guns” is a slogan of a project that targets silencing all illegal weapons in Africa.

The campaign targets member states because the primary responsibility of providing peace and security and the overall protection of citizens lies with governments. (NAN)

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