Solomons religious leaders call for reconciliation

Religious leaders in Solomon Islands launched an appeal for peace and reconciliation following last week's riots which destroyed most of Chinatown.

Fides reports that the country's religious leaders have condemned the recent violence and said the country needs harmony and that social conflict must be avoided at all costs.

During Mass celebrated at Holy Cross Church, the Archbishop of Honiara Adrian Smith (pictured) said "the people of Honiara must ask forgiveness for the damaged caused to Chinese immigrants and offer them a message of peace".

Archbishop Smith asked individual Catholics, parishes, associations not to let themselves be misled by certain "criminal groups" which want to plunge the country back into crisis, conflict and violence. The archbishop condemned the sacking and looting saying it was the fruit of anger among a few of the people but not the majority.

Calm has returned in the Solomon Islands following the resignation on Wednesday of the Solomon Islands' prime minister, Snyder Rini, whose election sparked the rioting. Mr Rini, connected with the previous government, is accused of corruption and embezzlement.

Australia and New Zealand have increased their military presence in Honiara, now over 350 men to guarantee greater security. The intervention of the military restored order and most public services have resumed.

Meanwhile the local Church assisted by Caritas Australia has been assisting people suddenly made homeless when homes and shops were destroyed in riots in the capital Honiara.

Adam Elliot of Caritas Australia said food, tents and other aid had been distributed to the displaced families. Honiara archdiocese set up a special Committee to assess the situation, identify needs and decide where and how to intervene.

Religious leaders and Catholic Archbishop of Honiara call for reconciliation (Fides 26/4/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia - Solomon Islands

Caritas Australia assesses The Solomon Islands (CathNews 26/4/06)
Message of peace from Solomons Archbishop (CathNews 24/4/06)
Economic disenchantment root cause of Solomons rioting (CathNews 20/4/06)

Pray for the Solomons (Catholic Leader 28/4/06)
Relief effort stepped up (Catholic Weekly 30/4/06)

28 Apr 2006