Sarajevo Statement

Oct 1, 2003 | Statement

Statement from Sarajevo, where the second meeting of the Eropean Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for peace was held.

We, participants in the second meeting of the European Council of Religious Leaders/Religions for Peace (ECRL), express commitment to multi-religious cooperation for peace and justice in Europe and in the world. We meet in Sarajevo, a city that symbolizes for us the challenge and hope of religions working together to rebuild peace. We support the religious leaders of the Inter religious Council of Bosnia Herzegovina/Religions for Peace in their commitment to work together to take additional steps to heal the scars of war and build peace. There are deep lessons to be learned here: positive ones taught by the history of Jews, Christians and Muslims living together, bitter lessons taught by brutal ethnic conflict, and hopeful ones borne of the courage to forge truth, justice and reconciliation. These lessons are valuable for Europeand indeed for the wider world. Here in Sarajevo, we welcome our diverse living religious traditions as a resource for building a Europe which is a home for us all and for building a just world order.

Among the challenges discussed were the concerns of religious minorities, the religious populations of states newly joined to the European Union, and immigrant populations to be fully accepted as stakeholders in the building of Europe. As religious leaders we are committed to welcoming the impact of all of our religious traditions in defining common European values. Concretely we welcome the invitations extended to the ECRL by the representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Commission to work in partnership to develop the political instruments necessary to serve all Europeans. In particular, we call upon the Inter-Governmental Conference meeting later this autumn in Rome, to ensure legal mechanisms in the European Constitution for open, transparent and regular dialogue between the EU and European religious organizations.

The war in Iraq and the related impasse in the United Nations Security Council raised concerns about the morality and legality of the war, as well as the future of the United Nations (UN) as the pre-eminent institution of a desired multilateral political order. We are committed to fostering a searching moral debate on these issues, and urge that a UN mandate be attained expressing international support for the reconstruction and self-determination of Iraq. We also appeal for a stronger role of the UN in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We further affirm the need for an international multi-religious engagement in Iraq, and we will work with the World Conference of Religions for Peace (WCRP) to continue to facilitate the work of the Iraqi Inter-Religious Council.