World Council of Churches International Assembly closes

The International Assembly of the WCC, held in Busan, Republic of Korea, closed on Friday.   During the week there were many, many oppportunities to meet with others from around the world, share stories and hopes for the future.   Several statements were approved in the final days, including:  The Way to Just Peace; Peace and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula; Situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo; the Church Presence and Witness in the Middle East; situatin of Abyei in South Sudan; Indigenous Peoples; and Climate Justice.   A statement on Moving Towards a Nucclear Free World was sent back to the relevant committee for more work.

The statement on the Way to Just Peace it was recognized that the churches can help build cultures of peace by learning to prevent and transform conflicts.  There are several recommendations that we can take back to our communities at home: 

undertake a critical analysis of the Responsibility to Protect, its relationship to just peace and its misuse to justify armed interventions;

facilitate a program of reflection and environmental action in members churches and related networks to build sustainable communities and bring about collective reductions in carbon emissions and energy use;

develop guidelines within the concept of "economic of life" for the right sharing of resources and prevention of structural violence;

work for human rights protections through international treaty bodies and the United National Human Rights Council; work for the elimination of nuclear and all other weapons of Mass Destruction; seek ratificion of the Arms Trade Treaty by our governments;

support and protect the right of conscientious objection to military service.

There were also some recommendations for Governments: 

Adopt by 2015 and begin implementing binding regulations with targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the recommendations in the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;

Ban nuclear weapons;

Remaining stocks of chemical weapons and cluster bombs be destroyed;

Ban on drones and other robotic weapons systems that will select and strike targets without human intervention when operating in fully autonomous mode;

Reallocate national military budgets to humanitarian and developmental needs, conflict prevention and civilian peace-building iitiatives;

Ratify and implemenent the Arms Trade Treaty by 2014.

So where do we go from here?   And these are the recommendations from just one statement:  The Way to Just Peace.   There are lots in the others!