Charity week tackles violence
‘TACKLING Violence: Building Peace’ has been the theme of this week’s Christian Aid week which started on 11 May and ends on 17 May. It has been strongly supported by both the present Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and by his predecessor, Rowan Williams.
Christian Aid has identified a number of causes that trap people in poverty. Debt, climate change, unfair trading, tax-dodging and land theft have all been identified as reasons why some people live in destitution.
This year the focus has been on the role played by conflict in causing poverty and impeding development. Places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq and Colombia are often quoted as countries currently experiencing the impact of conflict but Christian Aid has also drawn attention to the on-going need to help countries like Sierra Leone, which is still struggling to rebuild after fighting has stopped.
Literature produced by Christian Aid to assist the campaign points out that warfare is responsible for driving people from their homes as refugees and for leaving children as orphans when their parents are killed in fighting.
In an inaugural lecture delivered in Parliament to launch Christian Aid week, Bishop RowanWilliams, who is the organisation’s President, identified inequality as a key factor in provoking violence. He said it was crucial for power to be redistributed to stop conflict spreading.
“Inequalities of power, in the form of radically unequal levels of access to decision-making, process of law, education and civic freedoms, are often described as forms of ‘structural violence’. And this should help us see why inequalities in these areas are so often generators of others sorts of violence,” Dr Williams claimed.
“Poverty and a sense of powerlessness are regularly among the major drivers of violence; while violence in turn is a major driver of poverty,” he said. He also highlighted the role women play in peace-building while at the same time suffering disproportionate levels of violence.
Dr Williams highlighted the risk to peace and security posed by climate change. “The sense of hopelessness in the face of environmental danger can lead either to apathy or to savage conflict over limited resources,” he said.