14 November 2012

Rwanda: Regional Religious Leaders Meet to Deliberate On What Could Be Their Role Towards Sustainable Peace in the Region

About 120 religious leaders from the Great Lakes member countries conveyed today in a regional conference on the role of faith-based organization (FBOs) in promoting peaceful cohabitation in the Great Lakes Region. On the initiative of Rwanda Governance Board, the conference engaged representative of the FBOs to contribute towards sustainable peace in Great Lakes Region.

While opening the conference, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Governance Board stressed the importance of this conference in peace building: "Faith-based organizations are part and parcel of the country and play unquestionable role in the political education of local citizens, thus complementing the government institutions".

"We can't achieve spiritual peace when there is war", he told religious leaders calling for a continued support to peace building mechanisms" concluded Prof. Shyaka.

In addition to discussing their role in building sustainable security, religious leaders from Burundi, DRC, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda were informed on other underlying issues. Interactions included various political initiatives undertaken to build sustainable peace that so far has resulted in the ICGLR neutral force creation that will start operations soon, the establishment of Joint Verification Mechanism and the Fund to help refugees.

Other issues discussed at the meeting were the role of Joint military operations is achieving durable peace: "Joint military operations are important in fighting transnational security threats" said Col Jiles Rutaremara. "Mutual cooperation between countries in the region is crucial in eradicating threats posed by negative forces", he concluded.

In his closing remarks Prof. Shyaka Anastase had this to say 'I am not a preacher, but allow me quote the book of Mathew chapter 5: 9, in the bible, "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God" am sure this dialogue, points to what not only religious leaders but all leadership is assigned, to preach peace, unity and reconciliation'.

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