PESC-2: Education towards violence free communication and conflict solution
2.3 Does spirituality help in conflict? Two documents from Kosovo

 
Statement of Shared Moral Commitment

We religious leaders of the traditional religious communities of Kosovo, the Islamic Community, the Serbian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, concerned about the slow and inefficient implementation of the Kosovo peace plan, on the occasion of our working visit with the Interreligious Council of BosniaHerzegovina, have decided to issue the following common statement.

1. All the peoples in Kosovo have undergone enormous suffering. Thanks be to God that the war has ended, but unfortunately there continues to be insecurity and violence. Our task now is to establish a durable peace based on truth, justice and common living.
2. We recognise and accept that our religious communities differ from each other, and that each of them feels called to live true to its own faith. At the same time we recognise that our religious and spiritual traditions hold many values in common, and that these shared values can serve as an authentic basis for mutual esteem, co-operation and free common living in the entire territory of Kosovo.
3.  Each of our traditional churches and religious communities recognises and proclaims that the dignity of man and human value is a gift of God. Our faiths, each in its own way, call us to respect the fundamental human rights of each person. Violence against persons or the violation of their basic rights are for us not
 only against man-made laws but also breaking God's law.
4. We jointly, in mutual recognition of our religious differences, condemn all violence against innocent persons and any form of abuse or violation of fundamental human rights, and specifically, we condemn:
· Acts of hatred based on ethnicity or religious differences;
· The desecration of religious buildings, and the destruction of graveyards;
· The expulsion of people from their homes;
· The obstruction of the free right of return to their homes;
· Acts of revenge;
· the abuse of the media with the aim of spreading hatred.
5. Finally, we call on all people of good will to take responsibility for their own acts.  Let us treat others as we would wish them to treat us.
6. With this Statement we appeal to all of our believers in Kosovo, local authorities and representatives of the international community in Kosovo.

Sarajevo, 8 February 2000
The Albanian and Serbian versions are translations of the English original
 
Dr. Rexhep Boja 
Mufti and President of
Islamic Community 
H.E. Artemije Radosavljevi 
Bishop of Raska-Prizren  
Serbian Orthodox Church
Msgr. Marko Sopi
Bishop of Prizren
Roman Catholic Church of Kosovo

Interreligious Council of Kosovo - Press Statement

We, as the responsible religious leaders in Kosovo, express our deepest gratitude for the visit of our brother religious leaders from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Kosovo on 11-13 April 2000, which followed our visit to Sarajevo from 7-9 February. Appreciating their experiences we have made the decision in Pristina today on 13 April, to establish The lnterreligious Council of Kosovo.

During the three days of the visit of the Interreligious Council of BiH, we together visited imnportant sites for each of our communities in Peja/Pec, Decani, Prizren, Gracanica and Pristina. This tour has allowed our guests to see the reality of Kosovo both the good and the bad.,

We have used the occasion of their visit to build on the very positive steps we took in Sarajevo when we signed our "Statement of Shared Moral Commitment." Our discussions today have focused on how we as the religious leaders in Kosovo can take concrete steps together to work for a better future for all people of Kosovo. To this end, we express our common agreement on the following points:

1. With one united voice we once again strongly condemn all acts of violence and all violations of basic human rights. The acts that have happened and that continue to happen against innocent persons are evil and cannot be condoned in any way by any of our respective religious traditions.
2. We commit ourselves today to pursue mote active cooperation as religious leaders and among our communities. We will work to develop our own structures and means for cooperation through tile, Interreligious Council of Kosovo.  In addition we are encouraged by the fact that we will all be participating in the Kosovo Transitional Council and look forward to using that venue to further our work together.
3. Together we support the building of strong local democratic institutions; that will continue to ensure security, peace, and wellbeing for all inhabitants of Kosovo.  We look, to the international community to provide the necessary support for the inhabitants of Kosovo to achieve this goal.
4. We commit ourselves to work together to rebuild the many destroyed and damaged religious buildings in Kosovo, and we appeal to our friends and partners in serious international agencies to assist us with the necessary resources to accomplish this essential task.
5. Finally, we appeal to the international community to work harder on finding and resolving the Situation of all the prisoners, missing and abducted persons whose unknown fate remains as one of the deepest wounds of our recent tragic conflicts.

Once again, we thank our distinguished guests from Bosnia-Herzegovina for their visit and their encouragement, as well as the World Conference on Religion and Peace (.WCRP) for its support and its continued commitment to assist us in-this process. We look forward to continuing with our close, brotherly relations and with God's help we will be able to work together to build a stronger future for all people in our blessed land.
19 April 2000
 

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