The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has joined the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in honouring the victims of road collisions. “Every single human being is precious in the eyes of God as they are created in the very image of God,” said Tveit.
He addressed a memorial service on Sunday, 26 August at the Christos Polentas park in Chania, Greece, the site of a memorial sculpture in remembrance of victims of road accidents dedicated as part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020).
The WCC General Secretary is currently in Greece to participate in the WCC Central Committee meeting from 28 August to 5 September at the Orthodox Academy of Crete.
The service was attended by Central Committee members, local church leaders, UNECE staff members and representatives of the state authorities.
In his speech, Tveit gave an assurance of the WCC's support in spreading awareness about road safety. “We invite all our member churches and all people of good will to consider seriously life as a gift of God, a precious gift that has to be protected, and not to be spoiled because of lack of respect, lack of attention or lack of responsibility toward each human being,” he said.
Tveit shared the UN's concern for road safety especially in relation to the theme of the WCC's upcoming 10th Assembly “God of Life, lead us to justice and peace”. The assembly will be held in 2013 in Busan, Korea. He said the assembly theme emphasises the value and sacredness of human life.
Tveit also mentioned the WCC's several collaborations with international organisations over humanitarian concerns, including the World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation, Human Rights Council and United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Apostolos Voulgarakis, vice regional governor of Chania, stressed the need for creating awareness about security in road activities. “The importance of road safety for the [protection] of human life is extremely important. We must try to make people more aware and sensitive to these matters, so that our society can move ahead towards a safer future,” he said.
At the service, Tveit unveiled a plaque inscribed with his prayer “May the God of life enable us to justly and peacefully work for the safety of all who travel the many roads of our lands”. He also inaugurated a chapel dedicated to St. Christopher, known as protector of travellers.