The 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC), meeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 14-23 February 2006, said prevention must be the key tool and concern of the churches regarding the responsibility to protect endangered populations.
Read their statement and the press release.
"The churches are in support of the emerging international norm of the responsibility to protect
"To be faithful to that responsibility to protect people means above all prevention prevention of the kinds of catastrophic assaults on individuals and communities that the world has witnessed in Burundi, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other instances and locations of human-made crises. WCC studies showed that although churches have different views on the use of force for human protection purposes, they agree on the essential role of preventive efforts to avoid and, if possible, tackle the crisis before it reaches serious stages. Protection becomes necessary when prevention has failed...
"In calling on the international community to come to the aid of vulnerable people in extraordinary suffering and peril, the fellowship of churches is not prepared to say that it is never appropriate or never necessary to resort to the use of force for the protection of the vulnerable. This refusal in principle to preclude the use of force is not based on a nave belief that force can be relied on to solve intractable problems. Rather, it is based on the certain knowledge that the objective must be the welfare of people, especially those in situations of extreme vulnerability and who are utterly abandoned to the whims and prerogatives of their tormentors. It is a tragic reality that civilians, especially women and children, are the primary victims in situations of extreme insecurity and war."
Report from the Public Issues Commmittee of the World Council of Churches, adopted at the 9th Assembly, 2006.