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ICC Note:

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has raised concerns about “serious challenges” at home and abroad in an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Reflecting on a six year high of religious hostilities worldwide, the Conference raises several major concerns of international religious freedom rights groups and faith-based organizations. In a world of increasing governmental restriction upon and social hostilities against the quintessential human right to worship freely, the need for Christians to advocate on behalf of those persecuted for their faith has become ever more crucial.

04/27/2014 Ottawa (Catholic Register) – In a lengthy letter, made public April 22, conference president Archbishop Paul-André Durocher touched on impending genocide in Africa, the war in Syria, the aggression against Ukraine, violence in Venezuela, the threats to the environment and threats to indigenous rights posed by Canadian-owned mining companies in Latin America as well as threats to human dignity at home.

“We also continue to worry about the devaluing of human life that marks our country when we consider both life’s beginning and ending,” Durocher wrote. “The way our society cares for those who are waiting to be born and those who await death is a powerful sign of our appreciation for the sanctity of human life itself.

“The lack of such care can only lead to the denial of the intrinsic dignity of every human being,” the archbishop said. “We need as a country to look again at the directions we have taken and are taking in this regard.”

Durocher began the four-page letter with a warning of genocide against Muslims in the Central African Republic that followed a period of “severe reprisals against Christians.” Thousands have fled their homes; a million people need food, he said. Though Muslims and Christians “are found on each side of the conflict,” religious differences “are used here and elsewhere as an excuse to justify violence.”

He also listed as further examples Nigeria and Cameroon, where an elderly Canadian nun, Sr. Gilberte Bussière, and two Italian priests were recently kidnapped.

The archbishop urged the Canadian government “to look for ways that our country can help stabilize civil governments and food security throughout Africa.”

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