The Catholic Church in Ethiopia has joined other religious leaders and the government to promote peaceful coexistence in communities in conflict.
The head of the Justice and Peace Department of the bishops’ conference says in the past year the Church managed to bring together disputing ethnic groups in different parts of the country. Conflicts have arisen in some parts of the vast nation due disputes over grazing land and the stealing of herds.
Below is a report by Makeda Yohanes from Addis Ababa
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (ECS) through Justice and Peace Department in collaboration with local elders, different religious leaders and government officials is working tirelessly throughout the country to promote peace and tolerance among all peoples and nationalities in the country.
Speaking to AMECEA Online News Correspondent recently in Addis Ababa, Mr. Guelay Gebreghiorgis, ECS Justice and Peace Department Head, said that in the past year the Church managed to bring together disputing ethnic groups in different parts of the country. This included the addressing of the issue of stigmatization to minority groups.
He said that in some part of the country mainly in pastoralist areas conflicts arise due to pasture lands and stealing of herds, revenge and grudges that further aggravate the situation. The Catholic Church, using the Catholic Social teaching and social conflict resolution methods have successfully managed to bring together the disputing communities to dialogue.
“Where we operate we work with the Gospel and Catholic Social Teachings to preach peace and love,” he said adding that “One of our major achievements this year is in Apostolic Vicariate of Soddo where we have managed to begin alleviating the discrimination against communities that were stigmatized. Now after continuous and extensive teachings people are beginning to accept the human dignity of fellow human beings, at least now people worship together and students share the same class, with time they will begin to sit together and socialize more.”
Mr. Guelay also said that similar work has been done in the eastern part of Ethiopia, Apostolic Vicariate of Harar where most of the community is Pastoralists. He said the Catholic Social Teaching is for everyone not just Catholics and the work of the Church is bearing fruits and acceptance among the different communities and authorities.
ECS Justice and Peace Department is also actively working with the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council (IRCE) where 7 religious denominations gather to work for sustainable peace and tolerance in the country. It is to be recalled that IRCE published a peace building manual that can be used by the 7 members of IRCE and other secular institutions as it is fit to address all people without discrimination.
The department also gives workshops for government officials, police officers, prison administrators and others on human dignity and peaceful resolutions to challenges. Justice and Peace Department has been successfully engaged in various peace building efforts in the country throughout the years and constantly receives requests from different bodies for intervention and workshops.
SOURCE: Vatican Radio