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Bishops of the Southern African region have made appeals to Southern African Development Community (SADC) to act on armed conflict and failed economy in some Southern African countries.

“Act now on a possible armed conflict escalation and failed economy in some Southern African countries. Why wait for the disturbances such as in Central African Republic, Nigeria and South Sudan,” cautioned the bishops. “Prevention is better than cure.”

The appeal was made in a letter after the Inter-regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa – IMBISA who are drawn from several countries including Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Sao Tome e Principe, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

“As bishops of the Interregional Meeting of Bishops in Southern Africa… we regard the misery of our people crossing the border into Malawi because of military operations in Northern Mozambique or Zimbabweans crossing the Limpopo into South Africa or entering Botswana as economic refugees as alarming,” read the letter signed by Archbishop Robert C Ndlovu of Harare, the Secretary General of IMBISA.

The bishops termed the movements of migrants which is caused by armed conflict and economic failure as “transnational problem” with no national solutions saying the whole region has to get together and tackle “this enormous human problem” adding that the countries that send migrants and the countries that receive them must talk to each other.

In the statement, the bishops urged all the concerned governments to protect the people. “For all good governments people must come first. The protection of human life is the first duty of any government which respects people and their families.”

“We appeal to our governments to unite their voice to… demanding an end all violence and use of arms, to strengthen all efforts of dialogue, thereby helping to create conditions for that dialogue and avoid any military involvement.”

According to the bishops, impoverished refugees can only be stopped if they are given a chance in a restored economy to rebuild their lives at home adding that IMBISA was prepared to assist in finding a solution.

“We appeal to our leaders to give work to all our people so they need not go into exile. The Bishops of Southern Africa are ready to enter into dialogue with all parties concerned. In the eyes of the Church no one is excluded.”

Source : Catholic Information Service for Africa