World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Update
150 route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
E-mail: media

1 July 1999


cf. WCC Press Release of 27.1.1999
cf. WCC Press Release of 9.2.1999
cf. WCC Press Update of 4. 3. 1999

An ecumenical women’s delegation currently on a pastoral visit in Indonesia will return on Friday, 2 July. The visit was jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (CCI).

"We have been watching with concern the situation in Indonesia and we wish to express our solidarity with the women and the children in the country", explains Aruna Gnanadason from the WCC team "Justice, Peace and Creation", who is leading the delegation. "We recognize the need to document for the world what women and children in Indonesia are saying and requesting." The delegation is closely monitoring the situation of women and children in East Timor/West Papua, Ambon and Jakarta.

The WCC has closely followed events in Indonesia since the May 1998 riots in which over a thousand people lost their lives. In January of this year a WCC/CCA team visiting Indonesia urged the Indonesian government to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the burning and destruction of places of worship, as well as communal violence involving Christians and Muslims, and members of the ethnic Chinese minority.

Initial reports received from the team express concern about state-sponsored violence and its impact on women and children. In East Timor and Jakarta, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women have been used as a means to control and terrorize communities. "The use of rape as a weapon in conflict needs to be roundly condemned and more stringent laws need to be enacted and enforced," said Aruna Gnanadason.

Team members are:

- Ms. Glynthea Finger, Uniting Church in Australia (tel: +61.7.384.85.292)

- Ms. Jee Law, Hong Kong Christian Women’s Council (tel: +852.; e-mail:

- Ms. Lolita Dais, General Secretary Convention of the Philippine Baptist Churches (tel: +63.33.508.55.30; e-mail: - Ms. Margaret den Dulk Barens, Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (tel: +; fax: +

- Ms. Aruna Gnanadason, WCC team "Justice, Peace and Creation" (tel: +41.22.791.60.26; e-mail: WCC Contact)

The members of the delegation will be available to talk with journalists after their return from Indonesia.

The team will publish a report which will be available on the WCC website.

For further information please contact: Bob Scott, WCC Communication
Tel.: (+41.22) 791.61.66
E-Mail: WCC Contact

For more information contact:
Karin Achtelstetter, Media Relations Officer
tel.: (+41 22) 791 6153 (office);
e-mail: media
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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 336, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.