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Statement of the US Catholic Bishops Delegation to Kenya

 
April 5, 2001


During the past three days, our delegation has had the opportunity to meet with Catholic Church leaders, representatives from the NGO community, members of Ufungamano, and the president of the Republic of Kenya.

The delegation met with President Moi to raise the issues of the constitutional review process, poverty alleviation, the general conditions of healthcare, and the impact of HIV/AIDS. President Moi expressed his deep gratitude for the work of CRS in helping to redress the social consequences of poverty. The President stated that the constitutional review process involving the Christian churches and other religious organizations highlights the fact that "the constitution exists to protect the rights of all citizens." He also spoke of his involvement in the IGAD peace process. The president was encouraged by the increasing involvement of Christian organizations in the search for just and lasting peace in Sudan.

The delegation was able to visit several Catholic parishes in Mathare Valley, Korogocho, Kariobangi and Kangeme. We were especially encouraged by the work of the Church in the areas of poverty alleviation, assistance to refugees, and an integrated approach to HIV/AIDS. Of particular note were the efforts to destigmatize those living with this disease, including their reintegration into the social and spiritual community.

We applaud the hospitality of the Kenyan Government and people in their efforts to ease the suffering of refugees who have taken shelter in Kenya. At the same time, discussions with refugees and those involved with their care make evident the urgent need for structures which guarantee their security and provide them opportunities for self-sufficiency in Kenya.

The Catholic Bishops of Kenya expressed particular concern regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Fr. John Kaiser, and have called for a thorough and transparent investigation.

We wish to thank the Episcopal Conference of Kenya and others who have enabled our delegation to gain a deeper insight into the concerns of the people of Kenya.
 


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