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LWF Tenth Assembly Urges US Government to Respect Human Rights Laws

Direction of United States’ Policies Not Clear

WINNIPEG, Canada, 31 July 2003 - The Tenth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) taking place here asked the United States government to respect internationally-recognized human rights laws.

"Aware of the threats posed by terrorist acts, the Assembly affirms international policies, which seek human security through international cooperation and common security," said the Assembly in a public statement July 30.

The Assembly expressed deep concern about the direction of a number of US government policies.

It pointed out the US refusal to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the conditioning of support for HIV/AIDS programs in severely affected countries on their acceptance of genetically modified organisms (GMO), refusal to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the adoption of a "pre-emptive war" doctrine.

The Assembly emphasized the Kyoto protocol saying the US had failed to ratify it in accordance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"Throughout the world, human beings are suffering from dried-out land, storms and floods as a result of climate change. Also eco-systems with their species are threatened because of these changes. These effects are increasing and need to be dealt with very seriously and instantly," the statement said.

The Assembly cited carbon dioxide as one of the most common greenhouse gases which affects the earth. "Further, this will have the effects of increasing and decreasing the amount of rainfall in different areas, heavy storms will be more common and there will be a risk of changes in the ocean currents. These effects are of course affecting nature, including humankind," the statement further noted. It added, "The United States of America is one of the largest contributors of carbon dioxide emission in the world."

The Assembly called on the US government to ratify the Kyoto protocol and to seriously work with decreasing the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The Kyoto protocol is a document prepared by the United Nations and its member nations. The protocol, a commitment to decrease levels of greenhouse gas emissions, was an outcome of a meeting of more than 160 nations which met in Kyoto in 1997 to continue the work with the Convention on Climate Change from 1992.

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.

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