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Statement on the Arrest of Archbishop Emmanuel Kataliko

 
His Eminence Bernard Cardinal Law
Archbishop of Boston
Chairman, International Policy Committee
U.S. Catholic Conference

February 17, 2000

I vehemently deplore the recent arrest of Archbishop Emmanuel Kataliko of Bukavu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR). The Archbishop was declared a "persona non grata" in his diocese and, on February 12, 2000 was forcibly flown to Butembo to the northeast of Goma where he remains under house arrest. He is accused by the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD), which is backed by Rwanda and controls the Eastern part of Congo, of inciting ethnic hatred, genocide, and threatening law and order in the region. There are no legitimate grounds for these accusations.

This outrageous act on the part of the RCD is a direct affront to the Archbishop's human rights and religious freedom. It further demonstrates the gross violations of human rights by all parties involved in the war which has ravaged the Congo for more than three years. These violations must be denounced in the strongest possible way.

The Holy Father has called the arrest of the archbishop a "grave violation that painfully injures all Catholics." He also prayed for the quick return of the archbishop "to the flock that has been entrusted to him." Cardinal Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa, denounced the arrest of the archbishop, insisting that "Bishop Kataliko did not incite people to ethnic hatred and to violence."

I pray that our government will use whatever influence it may have with the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie and the governments of Rwanda and Uganda for the immediate release of Archbishop Kataliko and for the safe return to his diocese.


February 18, 2000

Her Excellency Edith Grace Ssempala
Embassy of the Republic of Uganda
5911 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20011

Dear Ms. Ambassador Ssempala,

I wish to bring to your urgent attention the arrest of Archbishop Emmanuel Kataliko, Archbishop of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Archbishop was declared a "persona non grata" in his diocese and, on February 12, 2000 was forcibly flown to Butembo to the northeast of Goma where he remains under house arrest. He is accused by the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie (RCD), which controls the Eastern part of Congo, of inciting ethnic hatred, genocide, and threatening law and order in the region. There are no legitimate grounds for these accusations.

This outrageous act on the part of the RCD is a direct affront to the Archbishop's human rights and religious freedom. It further demonstrates the gross violations of human rights by all parties involved in the war which has ravaged the Congo for more than three years. These violations must be denounced in the strongest possible way.

The Holy Father has called the arrest of the archbishop a "grave violation that painfully injures all Catholics." He also prayed for the quick return of the archbishop "to the flock that has been entrusted to him." Cardinal Etsou, Archbishop of Kinshasa, has denounced the arrest of the archbishop, insisting that "Bishop Kataliko did not incite people to ethnic hatred and to violence."

I respectfully ask that your government use whatever influence it might have with the leaders of the Rassemblement Congolais pour la Democratie to gain the immediate release of Archbishop Kataliko and the safe return to his diocese.

Thanking you for your attention to this matter,

I am very sincerely yours,

Bernard Cardinal Law
Archbishop of Boston
Chairman, International Policy Committee
U.S. Catholic Conference


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