To Contribute to Peacebuilding, Ethiopia’s Religious Leaders Need to Be “free from ethnic sectarianism”: Catholic Bishop

To credibly contribute to peacebuilding initiatives in Ethiopia, faith-based leaders in the Horn of Africa nation need to be seen playing a neutral role, “free from ethnic sectarianism”, the Coadjutor Bishop of the country’s Eparchy of Emdeber has said.

In an interview with a local Television Station, Bishop Lukas Teshome Fikre Woldetensae also highlighted the effects of the protracted socio-political crisis in the country.

“We were once considered a people of faith and humility, but today this is being challenged by the daily and ongoing conflicts and wars that continue to result in a state of general insecurity and extreme poverty,” Bishop Fikre said. 

In the May 8 interview, the Ethiopian Catholic Church leader decried, “Blood is flowing everywhere.”

“Religious institutions and the government have the responsibility to lead young people on the right path of development and not into war,” he appealed. 


The Coadjutor Bishop of the Eparchy of Emdeber who doubles as Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) emphasized the need for faith-based leaders to be nonpartisan if they want to credibly contribute to peace building in the Horn of Africa country.

He said, “By remaining neutral, free from ethnic sectarianism and political influence, religious leaders can play an important role as mediators and in building a culture of peace and reconciliation.”

Faith-based leaders, Bishop Fikre said, are “entrusted with the task of showing them (youths) the path of truth, love and justice.”

“Our young people face unemployment and desperation,” he lamented, and appealed, “We must stop sending them to fight and protect them from human traffickers, help them follow the right path and let them live happily in their own country.”

The Ethiopian Catholic Bishop continued, “Our social and spiritual fractures heal through prayers, good will, good deeds, love and justice.”

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“Above all, we shepherds of the land are more responsible than anyone else before God, who has entrusted us with the life of the land and has asked us to look after His flock,” he said.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), “At least 21 million Ethiopians shoulder the weight of multi-faceted, often overlapping, humanitarian situations driven by man-made and natural hazards, including conflict, climatic shocks (drought and floods), and disease outbreaks.”

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has reported that one in six of Ethiopia's 120 million girls, boys, women and men need life-preserving assistance as a result of conflict, drought, flooding, and disease outbreaks.

There have been collaborative efforts through partnerships to bring humanitarian assistance to the needy Ethiopians alongside pleas for the implementation of the 2 November 2022 peace agreement in Pretoria, South Africa, in which the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) pledged to “permanently silence the guns and end the two years of conflict in northern Ethiopia”. 

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