Contact Us



News and Media
[ Back to News Releases ]


LWF Tenth Assembly Urges UN to Send Stabilization Force to Liberia

"Come to Our Rescue," Lutheran Bishop Harris Pleads to International Community

WINNIPEG, Canada, 28 July 2003 – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), holding its Tenth Assembly here, has called upon the United Nations to send a stabilization force to Liberia to prevent Government forces and rebels from attacking each other, and protect civilians.

In a statement released by the Assembly’s Policy and Reference Committee, the LWF "urged the UN Security Council to immediately mandate the deployment of a multilateral stabilization force to separate the warring sides, to protect civilians, and to disarm and demobilize all fighting forces."

The statement came after a heart-rending briefing on the current situation in Liberia by the head of the Lutheran Church in Liberia (LCL), Bishop Sumoward Harris, and Ms Comfort Freeman, representing the church’s women.

According to Harris, innocent civilians have continued to die due to renewed fighting between the warring parties who have said they will not stop until US troops arrive. "We welcome President Bush’s intervention of sending his men here but by the time they arrive, many more Liberians will be dead," said Harris.

On July 25, the US president ordered 2,000 of his troops to head toward the war-stricken nation and help restore peace and stability.

Harris appealed to the international community to listen to the voice of Liberians, saying, "We have been crying for so long. Now it is time for the international community to come to our rescue."

He expressed hope that the African Union (AU) would intervene and send in peace keeping troops to quell the more-than-a-decade war in the West African nation. "It is our hope that African leaders through the AU will move in and guarantee full and decent lives for their fellow Africans," he said.

Freeman, also a founding member of Liberia’s Women in Peace Building Network (WIPNET), noted that Christian and Muslim women in the country have come together to pursue peaceful solutions for the country.

"We have written statements and presented them to the government and rebels, demanding unconditional cease-fire," she said.

According to a regular country situation report by Charles Pitchford, LWF representative in the country and director of the Department for World Service program in Liberia, 600 civilians have been killed in the past week as a result of indiscriminate mortar and small arms fire.

"More than 20 bodies were piled up outside the US embassy protesting that America is dragging its feet with respect to sending troops," the report further says.

Pitchford adds, there is no movement in Liberia and the humanitarian crisis is overwhelming.

The Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is taking place 21-31 July 2003 in Winnipeg, Canada, under the theme "For the Healing of the World." It is being hosted by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC).

There are around 820 men, women and youth participants in the Tenth Assembly including 380 delegates from the 133 churches with full membership and three associate members. The Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the LWF, and meets normally every six years. Between Assemblies, the LWF is governed by its Council that meets annually, and by its Executive Committee.

To order photographs, please contact [email protected]

[Site Map]     [LWF Assembly Home]      [Links]     [LWF Home]

  Assembly Logo
  Assembly Theme
  What is an Assembly?
  Assembly History
  Assembly Updates
About the LWF