Resolution on the Responsibility to Protect
24 September 2007
On September 16, 2005, in the General Assembly of the United Nations, the United States and all other member states adopted the World Summit Outcome declaration that included the responsibility to protect (see appended text).
() The Christian community has always affirmed that, in response to the question m I my brothers keeper? (Genesis 4:9), we are indeed the protectors of one another. This affirmation is grounded in the prophetic call to protect the other the strangers, the weak and the dispossessed.
() The Christian community also believes that God hears the cry of the oppressed, and indeed the cry of the very blood that it spilled through injustice (Genesis 4:10). () The responsibility to protect as outlined by the United Nations correlates as to our responsibility collectively as nations. As Christians, we urge our nation to take up this responsibility in our name.
The nations of the world committed themselves to the principle of the responsibility to protect in September 2005, and thus affirmed the related principle that the peace and security of people are not trumped by claims of national sovereignty;
()The National Council of Churches USA recognizes the importance of consulting and working with our partner organizations and member communions partner denominations in countries where the situation appears to warrant the application of the principle of the responsibility to protect;
The National Council of Churches USA affirms the identification of the responsibility to protect as a moral issue as stated by the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, who were among the earliest supporters of this principle; and, The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Coalition has called on the people of the US and its leaders to embrace the norm of the responsibility to protect as a foreign policy priority;
The National Council of Churches USA endorses the Responsibility to Protect and, recognizing that war is always a failure to find peaceful resolution to conflict, encourages the US Government and the international community always to first seek non-violent means of intervention, and exhaust all opportunities for peaceful resolution, as a means of protecting those threatened by genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity;
The National Council of Churches USA calls upon the US Government to effectively implement the obligations of the R2P, in ways that reflect the international consensus on the criteria for action, and to take leadership within the international community to meet these obligations;
The National Council of Churches USA calls upon the US Government to work with the international community in ensuring that their common commitment to the responsibility to protect is met, especially through the strengthening of early warning capabilities so that such atrocity crimes might be prevented in the future;
The National Council of Churches USA calls upon its member churches to affirm the principle of the responsibility to protect, to support efforts that lead to the implementation of the international commitment to this principle, to join together with other Americans in efforts, such as those of the R2P Coalition, to promote a US government commitment to uphold the responsibility to protect both domestically and globally, and to educate our collective constituencies on the religious and moral imperatives inherent in this principle. ()
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