Conciliation Resources has been assisting religious leaders in the Central African Republic (CAR) to support local interfaith “peace committees”.
To mark the formal beginning of this Interfaith Peace Platform, Conciliation Resources has signed an agreement in Bangui, which lays out the support that we will be providing to religious leaders of the three denominations (Catholic, Evangelical and Muslim) to promote inter-community dialogue. The EU Mission Ambassador in Central Africa Republic, Jean-Pierre Reymondet-Commoy witnessed the occasion together with the EU Mission First Counsellor, Henri Got.
The signing was a simple occasion. A basket of eggs symbolising the fragility of peace, was presented to the religious leaders, and a university drama group depicted how the conflict is not religious. The Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonne Nzapalainga said,
What we have been saying in many words, the drama group has expressed in 15 minutes.
The Interfaith Peace Platform aims to establish and support infrastructure for peace at a national level via the national secretariat. At a local level they are setting up over 20 community peace committees in Bangui and outside the capital in Haut-Mbomou, Mbomou, Haute-Kotto and Vakaga prefectures to promote dialogue between fractured communities and reconciliation initiatives as well as dialogue with authorities.
Conciliation Resources is helping the local peace committees to develop their action plans and supporting them to find ways to link with the national work being undertaken by the religious leaders. The peace committees are also starting to document incidents of violence to identify trends and factors causing micro-level conflict. At least one committee is planning to help rebuild a local mosque with the active participation of the Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga and Imam Omar Kabine Layama.
We have also started working with the women’s group Plateforme des Femmes Croyantes to give opportunities to women to learn about conflict resolution.
The establishment of the Interfaith Peace Platform is part of an 18-month project called Support for community dialogue and peace in the CAR funded by the European Union.