By Vatican News
In an appeal to mark the International Day of Peace, Caritas Internationalis calls for a cessation of war and violence all over the world and especially in the Middle East. It also appeals for the promotion of “much-needed dialogue” to find a political solution to ongoing problems.
This Day of Peace, the message underlines, “is an important occasion for humanity to uphold peace as a unique value, and to express unconditional commitment to peace above all differences.”
The aid organization quotes Pope Francis, saying that “every war is a form of fratricide that destroys the human family’s innate vocation to brotherhood.”
In line with these words of the Holy Father, it says, “Caritas Internationalis believes in peace as a culture that needs to be nurtured, shared, and lived at all levels of society, from local communities to the political level.”
In its appeal, the agency calls for sanctions to be lifted in Syria, saying “it is clear that they do not help in promoting peace, but rather aggravate the conflict and are detrimental to peace.”
Caritas also calls for every effort to be made, and for the implementation of every initiative “that can lead to peace in the areas of conflict, to ensure that international aid for development gives important attention to building peace and reconciliation at the grassroots level in order to build community-centred peace and harmony.”
Furthermore, it encourages support for the efforts of religious leaders and faith-based communities engaged in promoting interreligious dialogue.
People affected by conflict
“Our humanity today,” the agency highlights, “continues to witness millions of people living in dire conditions due to war and violence, which prevent them from living their human condition in dignity. Millions are dying due to the absence of peace, due to war and violence the causes of which are to be found in selfishness, greed, corruption, religious and ethnic discrimination and also the illegal exploitation of natural resources.”
The aid organization goes on to say that “At a time when COVID-19 revealed to all of us the fragility and vulnerability of human existence and brought the whole of humanity together in solidarity to combat the propagation of the virus, we need to stand together in order to fight against all forms of division, all temptation of hatred.”
Caritas Internationalis works to address the root causes of conflicts and violence through conflict prevention, mediation and peace-building, and accompanying, caring for and giving voice to vulnerable people living in crisis areas and difficult social environments.
It notes that at present, in Kachin and Northern Shan State, Caritas Myanmar is carrying out a “Durable Peace Program with internally-displaced people, conflict-affected villages and host communities, women, youth and religious leaders in close collaboration with the Church.”
There are many more projects like those in the Central African Republic, Colombia, Pakistan and in Mindanao, in the Philippines, where Caritas and the local Church are working for a peaceful solution in a region where violence prevails.
On this International Peace Day, Caritas Internationalis emphasizes that “Peace cannot be attained without the courageous selfless act of putting the human person and the human condition above any other vested interests.”