Public statements at 2024 Council

25 Jun 2024

At its meeting in Chavannes in June 2024, the LWF Council adopted five public statements, addressing current issues and conflicts in the world.

Council members raise green cards voting in favor of a statement during the LWF Council meeting. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

Council members raise green cards voting in favor of a statement during the LWF Council meeting. Photo: LWF/Albin Hillert

LWF speaks out on issues of justice and conflict and freedom of religion

(LWI)—At its 2024 meeting, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Council, meeting under the theme 'Abound in Hope – Rom 15:13', approved public statements on freedom of religion or belief, justice, and peace in the context of global conflicts, the war in Ukraine, the crisis in Gaza, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Israel, and transparent, participatory, and accountable governance.

Statement on freedom of religion or belief

The LWF Council voiced its concern that over several years the freedom of millions of people to have and to express their beliefs individually or collectively has been eroded and that it has in some contexts, been violated and denied, for example, through actions by government or other religious groups.

The Council particularly recognized the situation of churches in a minority situation and the gender dimension of freedom of religion or belief, as "women's bodies are often used as battlefields for the honor of the communities and women's right to choose their religion, for instance when they marry, is often violated."

The Council expressed solidarity with people of all faiths affected by oppression and calls upon all governments and the international community to ensure these fundamental human rights are upheld.

Read the full statement

Statement on Justice and Peace in the context of global conflicts

The Council's expressed serious concerns about "the dramatic escalation of armed conflicts in every region of the world and the negative global trends of violence, injustices, including based on gender, displacement of people, humanitarian and climate crises and threats to democracy, the rule of law and human rights."

Noting the lack of "sound political leadership at national, regional and global levels, which has jeopardized the ability of the institutions at all levels to adequately respond to crises and challenges facing society," the Council recognized the UN Secretary General's call for the Summit of the Future and its planned outcome, the Pact of the Future, and notes their potential to address the ongoing intersecting global crises meaningfully.

The statement also called on the international community to address conflicts more effectively, support people affected by crises, and address racism, xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance and violence.

Read the full statement

Statement on the War in Ukraine

The Council stated that it finds it "appalling that Russia's war against Ukraine has persisted since the escalation of the conflict in February 2022." It lamented the massive casualties, suffering, and forcible displacement of almost 10 million people. The Council strongly rejected the instrumentalization of the word 'holy' by the Russian Orthodox Church to justify the war against Ukraine as a 'holy war.'

The LWF Council also commended the work of LWF World Service in Ukraine and Poland and the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine. . It called for an end to the war against Ukraine, the withdrawal of the Russian military from Ukrainian territories, and the respect of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

Read the full statement

Statement on the Crisis in Gaza, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Israel

The Council expressed its horror "about the ongoing war which is destroying the dignity, lives, and livelihoods of the people living in Palestine and Israel, especially those living in Gaza." It noted that the violence "has been escalated by the brutal killing and hostage-taking by Hamas, by Israel's war on Gaza, which have brutally killed tens of thousands of people, and by the holding of countless Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons without charge."

The Council condemned the violations of International Humanitarian Law, human rights, and human dignity and voiced concern about the polarization that this conflict has caused worldwide. It recognized the witness and work of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land and the LWF Jerusalem country program, including the Augusta Victoria Hospital.

The Council called on the warring parties to "agree on an immediate ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities," humanitarian access, and release of all hostages and prisoners held without charge. The statement calls upon the international community to work for an end of the occupation and for the two states solution to have lasting peace in the region.

Read the full statement

Statement on Transparent, participatory, and accountable governance

Affirming the importance of transparency, equal participation, and accountability in governance and leadership at all levels, the Council expressed its concerns over threats to these principles and values in today's world, such as unjust economic and political systems, the threats and killing of human rights defenders, journalists, and environmental defenders, and the shrinking of civil society space.

The Council also recognized the role of member churches in the public space and encouraged them to strengthen alliances to "advance transparency, equal participation, and accountability globally and in their contexts." It also called on the international community and national governments to respect and protect human rights.

Read the full statement

Council 2024

The 2024 LWF Council meeting takes place in Chavannes, just outside Geneva (Switzerland) from 13 to 18 June on the theme “Abound in Hope” (Rom 15:3).

LWF/C. Kästner-Meyer