Human Rights Day Pilgrimage

On 21 March, human rights day, a pilgrimage for a ceasefire in Gaza was organised by Christian Churches of Cape Town. Other faiths were invited to join the pilgrimage which started in Simon’s Town and ended at the Groote Kerk in Cape Town CBD. He was not able to attend, but sent the following message.

21st March, 2024.

Sisters and brothers,

We recall the words of the Prophet Isaiah (2:4):

He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares,
    and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war any more.

I regret that I am not able to participate in the Ceasefire Pilgrimage. I am fulfilling a long standing engagement in the Eastern Cape on the 20/21 March. My prayers, thoughts and solidarity accompany you on this pilgrimage march.

Doing so on Human Rights Day highlights the horror of what is happening in the Holy Land as the entire population of Gaza is being starved and deprived of water and medical supplies in an act of collective punishment, while they continue to suffer a relentless bombardment which began 6 months ago. We should also not forget the attacks that are occurring in the occupied West Bank. The situation of Gaza, the attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank as well as the recent announcement of a new Israeli settlement being planned on Palestinian territory, lends credence to the claim that what is happening is genocidal and ethnic cleansing.

As Church, we believe in peace, we pray for peace and we work for peace – a peace that is founded on justice and equality for all. We condemn all violence meted out against civilians, especially the most vulnerable such as women and children. All those who are responsible for targeting civilians, and for other war crimes, must be held accountable for their actions. We appeal for the release of all hostages held by whichever side and in whatever situation they are being held hostage, and we call for an immediate ceasefire. We plead with those countries and governments that have influence to take the necessary concrete actions to ensure that a lasting ceasefire is accomplished.

The aim of our march is to promote peace and to promote respect for human rights of all people without discrimination. We cannot be silent, and we join our voices with the millions of people throughout the the world who are calling for an end to this terror.

Cardinal Stephen Brislin
Catholic Archbishop of Cape Town

Posted in News & Events.