WASHINGTON (June 22, 2000) -- Despite claims to the contrary, the brutal violence in Sierra Leone is driven by a lust for power and money, according to the Chairman of the Bishops' International Policy Committee, and the international community must be involved in bringing an end to the war.
"Despite claims by the commanders of the Revolutionary United Front that it is engaged in a war against tyranny and injustice, their actions demonstrate that the true causes of the war center on the thirst for power and money," said Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston in a statement issued today.
He said the violence in that African nation of five million has resulted in 75,000 killed, more than 10,000 children forced into military service, thousands mutilated, and more than two million displaced.
He urged increased diplomatic efforts by the international community, and particularly by the nations of West Africa, "to end the war and disarm the aggressors. This will not be successful without the constructive engagement of neighboring states."
Cardinal Law outlined five elements which should be included in international efforts to bring an end to the war in Sierra Leone:
- increased international diplomatic efforts.
- disarmament of the aggressors.
- restoration of the rule of law.
- financial support to bring about the demobilization and reintegration of rebel forces into civilian life.
- programs of national dialogue and reconciliation.
Note: Full text of Cardinal Law's statement.