The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee has expressed deep concern about the alarming increase in threats to human security in Latin America. The committee has called for renewed efforts by churches to ensure peaceful and just societies.
A statement issued by the WCC Executive Committee, which met from 5 to 8 March 2013 in Bossey, Switzerland, identifies violence, extra-judicial killings, drug trafficking, human trafficking, “femicide” and exclusion of women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and migrants as issues of concern for the churches.
The statement condemns attacks on Indigenous Peoples and demands that “economic ventures of transnational corporations and local projects in ancestral Indigenous lands be done in consultation with the people of those lands, as stipulated by Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The WCC Executive Committee also urges Latin American states to protect human right defenders, stressing that “the tasks of human rights defenders in monitoring, denouncing and proposing public policies must be free from pressures and threats. The criminalisation of social protest is unacceptable.”
The statement also condemns the policies of the United States regarding Cuba, including the economic sanctions, which, it states, “constitute a threat to peace and a manifestation of a policy of interference in peoples’ right to self-determination.”
The statement expresses appreciation for the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
The statement was an outcome of the concerns expressed by the participants of a regional ecumenical consultation on “peace and human security in Latin America” organized by the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs in Antigua, Guatemala in 2012.