African Council of Religious Leaders/Religions for Peace - 10-12 June 2003, Abuja, Nigeria


In the name of the almighty and merciful God, we religious leaders, men and women, from across Africa and representing the major faiths, have gathered in Abuja Nigeria, from 10-12 June 2003. We have formed the African Council of Religious Leaders to promote inter-religious cooperation across our continent in pursuit of justice and peace.

We wish to express our appreciation to our host, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, and our gratitude to His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for officially opening the meeting. We are pleased to be in relationship with the World Conference of Religions for Peace, and in cooperation with international agencies, such as UNICEF, ECOWAS, and the World Bank.

We have gathered at a critical time in the history of our continent and the world. We face many challenges that cut across our national and religious boundaries. It is therefore necessary to work together in seeking solutions to problems, such as conflict, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and bad governance that confront our people. Our spiritualities, moral legacies, and extensive networks including the developing network of African religious women s groups constitute a tremendous capacity to respond to these challenges a capacity that is only strengthened through our collaboration.

We recognize that our ability to act is a moral responsibility to do so. We thus commit ourselves to exercise leadership in further mobilizing our communities and in working in critical solidarity with our governments to resolve conflict, to reduce human suffering, and to build just and peaceful societies.

We have agreed together to confront the HIV/AIDS pandemic and its particular impact on children through advocacy to strengthen policies, to expand resources, to eliminate stigma and discrimination, and to ensure access to treatment.

Our faiths call us to be peacemakers. We are committed to addressing the root causes of conflict and injustice in our societies. In our meeting, the Council took action to address the conflicts in West Africa through a specific appeal to the ECOWAS Parliament on the humanitarian crisis in Liberia.

We appeal to the members of our faith communities to support us in our commitment to work together as a Council, to respect and seek to understand one another s religious beliefs, and to join in solidarity in action for the common good.

We appeal to our governments, respectful of our different mandates, to enter into constructive and complementary partnerships with the religious communities in each country.

We appeal to sub-regional, all-African, and international social, economic and political institutions to develop appropriate mechanisms of cooperation with the Council to address the many problems that extend across the boundaries of our states.

Even in these challenging times, as religious leaders we live in hope, confident that together, with God s help, we can build a society in which all peoples of Africa live in harmony, dignity and peace.

Issued 12 June 2003, Abuja Nigeria

By the African Council of Religious Leaders

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