Saturday, 8 November 2014

Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo - A “yes” to life that needs to come from the people and the younger generations

Pope Francis stated this past October 23rd: “We live in times in which… people are instigated towards violence and revenge, both public and private [and] there is a tendency to deliberately create enemies. [But] it is impossible to imagine that States today have no means other than the death penalty to defend other people’s lives from an aggressor. The arguments against the death penalty are many and are well known. The Church has appropriately emphasized some of them. All Christians and people of good will are therefore called today to fight … for the abolition of the death penalty, whether legal or illegal, in all its forms.”
The Community of Sant’Egidio, as is well known, has been fighting for some time against
the death penalty. It does so by promoting public awareness campaigns - such as the “Cities for Life” campaign - aimed at winning over the hearts and minds to a more general repudiation of violence, revenge and scapegoating. 
Work of this kind is precious everywhere but it is even more important in Africa where unfortunately, in addition to legal executions, which are actually rare, we record many cases of extrajudicial killings and lynchings. 
Therefore the community of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has launched a campaign to mobilize people in support of life and against any form of violence, whether perpetrated by the state or carried out from below, by the people.
The campaign started by involving the younger generations which represent the future of the country and of the continent, a future that we all hope will be less violent and more friendly to life and human rights. Many high school students together with their parents
participated in conferences on the death penalty in Bagira, a location near Bukavu, discussing ways to create and spread a new culture of life.

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