FEATURE | 30 Mar 2022

Faith-based mediators urge world leaders to stop senseless war – in Ukraine and elsewhere!

The faith-based mediators met in Berlin for a workshop | The faith-based mediators met in Berlin for a workshop | Photo: Florian Lüdtke/Berghof

A group of faith-based mediators, supported by the Berghof Foundation, calls for ending human-suffering. They urge leaders to return to the negotiation table.


Religious peacemakers have played a critical role in conflict transformation processes in many countries. Taking this into account, the Berghof Foundation, together with the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers (NRTP)/Finn Church Aid (FCA) and funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, strengthens faith-based mediation and its complementarity with secular mediation efforts by qualifying and accompanying a group of faith-based mediators. Within this group, the Network of Faith-based Mediators, the mediators exchange and learn about experiences, methods and approaches, and thereby make their local, regional, and national mediation and dialogue processes more effective.

The group issued a statement on the current war in Ukraine:

Stop senseless wars – in Ukraine and elsewhere! End human-suffering and return to the negotiation table.

We, members of the Network of Faith-based Mediators from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Myanmar, Nigeria and Syria are watching with dismay and concern the currently unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine. We are shaken by the human tragedy caused by the mass exodus of women and children, leaving behind the fathers, husbands, sons and brothers into an uncertain future. We are devasted by the lack of food, medical and water supply in the war-ravaged region in the heart of Europe – one of the richest corners of the world.

We urge the world leaders to stop the war and return to the negotiation table! The growing militarisation and advocacy for military solutions is menacing.

As we observe the unravelling situation with pain, the impact of the Ukraine crisis on food security globally will be immense, particularly on our countries, which rely heavily on Ukrainian and Russian imports. Our countries have been in turmoil and conflict for decades- some of them have become the world´s forgotten conflicts. Under the eyes of the world community, our countries have long been struggling with food, water scarcity and acute famine. World Food Programme had already warned that 2022 would be a year of catastrophic hunger, with “44 million people in 38 countries teetering on the edge of famine”. Now, the combined effect of conflict, climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and rising food and fuel costs will likely to trigger new conflicts in our regions with disastrous consequences for peace and stability in the world.

It is our hope that the international community will take this opportunity to learn that the interconnectedness of our world requires joint and united solutions and show the same concern and dedication to solving other wars, which have been forgotten or overlooked in other parts of the world.

We urge the world leaders to stop the war and return to the negotiation table! The growing militarisation and advocacy for military solutions is menacing – it just increases the spiral of violence and prolongs human suffering. Political conflicts have to be resolved by political means – by mediated and negotiated settlements! This is what we stand for!


Monseñor Dr. Hector Fabio Henao Gaviria, Director of Cáritas Colombia and the National Secretariat of Colombian Episcopate

Hind Aboud Kabawat, Deputy Head of the Syrian Negotiation Commission in Geneva, Lawyer, the Director and Adjunct professor of Interfaith Peacebuilding at George Mason University's Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution.

Ja Nan Lahtaw, Executive Director of the Nyein (Shalom) Foundation, facilitator of Nationwide Ceasefire Negotiation and political dialogues of Myanmar peace process; and civil society leader working for peacebuilding and stability in Myanmar

Sheikh Muhammad Nuruddeen Lemu, Director of Research and Training, Da’wah Institute, Islamic Education Trust in Minna, Nigeria

Vahidin Omanović, Co-founder and co-director of “Center for Peacebuilding”, Sanski Most, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Laura Anyola Tufon, Northwest regional coordinator of the Commission on Justice and Peace of Diocese Bamenda, Cameroon

Ven. Dr. Seng Yeath Yon, Secretary-General of Cambodian Inter-Religious Council (CIC) and Vice-Rector of Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University based in Phnom Penh

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