Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Release the Golan 45

The Uniting Church in Australia has called for the immediate and safe return of 45 Fijian peacekeepers taken captive in the Middle East.

The peacekeepers, whoare part of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), were captured by Syrian rebels last week in the Golan Heights area between Syria and Israel.

Uniting Church President Rev. Prof Andrew Dutney says the peacekeepers, known as the Golan 45, must be released unconditionally.

“The detention of people working in the name of peace is a gross injustice and an affront to our shared humanity,” said Rev. Prof. Dutney.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fijian peacekeepers held captive and their families.

“I encourage Uniting Church members across the country to keep our Fijian brothers and sisters in their prayers in the days ahead.”

National Director of UnitingWorld Rob Floyd urged Uniting Church members to support the UCA’s partner church the Methodist Church in Fiji and Fijian communities across the world.

“We commend our church partners in the Methodist Church in Fiji for bringing the community together at this difficult time, and urge Uniting Church members to share their compassion,” said Mr Floyd.

UnitingWorld has contacted the Methodist Church in Fiji to express the Uniting Church in Australia’s heartfelt concern and prayerful support.

Earlier this week the Methodist Church in Fiji held an emotional vigil in Suva where members lit 45 candles for the peacekeepers and their families in the Centenary Methodist Church.

Jone Lotu, Chair of the Uniting Church’s Fijian National Conference, has asked Fijian congregations to come together in this time of need.

“We ask our Christian family to uplift these soldiers to the protection of our Lord Jesus Christ whereby they have been deployed as peacekeepers in a region that is increasingly volatile today,” he said.

“Even though there is little or sketchy news coming from their captors, we believe and pray for their release soon.”