Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia

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Dear friends,

Beloved Ethiopia stands on the brink of civil war. The United States Institute of Peace writes that war in Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history” and “would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

In response to the escalating conflict in Ethiopia, the Neighbor-Love Movement has published a Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia. Our Declaration is available in English, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, and Tigrigna. It calls upon Christians, Muslims, and all people of good will to defend human dignity and condemn violence in Ethiopia.

As you read the English version below, would you please pray for peace in Ethiopia and add your voice by signing our Joint Declaration? It has already been signed by over one hundred Ethiopian leaders, many holding senior positions in Ethiopia’s religious and civic life. We would be grateful for your solidarity and support in this critical moment.

May peace prevail and human life flourish in Ethiopia!

Yours with grief and gratitude,

Andrew

 

Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia

In this joint declaration, we, the undersigned:

  1. Condemn the escalation of violence in Ethiopia.
  2. Affirm the sacred value of every human person across every ethnicity, religion, and political affiliation.
  3. Call for nonviolence, dialogue, and the rule of law in pursuit of peace and justice for our shared flourishing.

 

  1. We Condemn the Escalation of Violence in Ethiopia

As religious and secular moral leaders, we grieve and condemn the grave escalation of violence in Ethiopia today. This violence is causing terrible suffering to all Ethiopians, in all of our beautiful ethnic, religious, and political diversity.

We witness an escalating feeling of insecurity, helplessness, and outrage across our communities.

As we look at history, we are alarmed because we see that this frustration can rapidly escalate into a vicious cycle of revenge, atrocity, and mass violence.

 

  1. We Affirm the Sacred Value of Every Human Person

In this critical moment, we stand together and raise a united voice to affirm the sacred value of every human person. We share this ethical conviction and the responsibility it implies toward all people from every religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. It is the foundation for our shared peace, justice, and hope.

The Old Testament declares, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself… Love the foreigner as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18, 34)

Jesus Christ declares, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-28, 31)

The Apostle Paul declares, “[The entire moral law] is summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor.” (Romans 13:9-10)

The Fetha Negast declares, “Respect others more than yourself, and be the brother and sister of all. Do not be prone to quarrel or to strike anyone… Such a person is like one who takes a bath in a place full of dirt.” (Fetha Negast, Ch. 11, Pt. 1)

The Qur’an declares, “Be good to your neighbors near and far… If anyone kills a person…it is as if they kill all humankind, while if anyone saves a life it is as if they save the lives of all humankind.” (Qur’an 4:36; 5:32)

The Prophet Mohammad declares, “The most virtuous behavior is to engage those who break relations, to give to those who withhold from you, and to forgive those who wrong you.” (Hadith At-Tabarani, no. 282)

These ancient moral values shared by Ethiopia’s religious communities are enshrined and summarized in Ethiopia’s Constitution: “Human rights and freedoms, emanating from the nature of mankind, are inviolable and inalienable. Human and democratic rights of citizens and peoples shall be respected” (Article 10).

 

  1. We Call for Nonviolence, Dialogue, and the Rule of Law for Peace and Justice

In the face of the current alarming crisis and on the basis of our shared moral values:

  • We commit to practicing nonviolence and pursuing peace and justice through dialogue and the rule of law.
  • We call upon every member of our diverse communities to completely reject the use of violence and to seek peace and justice through dialogue and the rule of law.
  • We call upon the leadership of our churches, mosques, youth groups, and secular associations to urge their members to reject violence and to seek peace and justice through dialogue and the rule of law.
  • We call upon the government of Ethiopia to uphold the rule of law, security of all persons, and human rights in pursuit of peace and justice. Furthermore, we call for an inclusive national dialogue and roadmap to a nonviolent future.
  • We call upon all people of good will to symbolize their commitment by signing their name to this Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia.

The time is now. Violence must stop. Every human life must be held sacred. A better future is possible when we love our neighbors as ourselves.

With shared conviction, responsibility, and hope,

The list of original signers can be found underneath the Amharic version here. Please add your name and raise your voice for human value and nonviolence in Ethiopia! 

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