Catholic, Protestant and Muslim work to bring peace and tolerance

One of Cafod’s partners in the Central African Republic has won a prestigious humanitarian award for trying to hold.

Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Imam Omar Kobine Layama, President of the Central African Islamic Community, and Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, President of the Evangelical Alliance of the Central African Republic, were awarded the UN Sergio Vieira de Mello Award yesterday for their efforts in reconciling Christian and Muslim groups.

Receiving news of the award, Archbishop Dieudonne Nzapalainga, told Cafod: “We’re absolutely delighted to be a part of this very special Sergio Vieira de Mello Award which recognises the important work of peace-building, however challenging the situation might be.

“This award does not belong to us, but honours the dedication of ordinary people from all walks of life who have refused to be overwhelmed by the violence, and instead with brave hearts go and talk peace and reconciliation in their communities.”

The three religions leaders are members of the Interreligious Peace Platform, established in 2013 at the height of the conflict between the rival Seleka and Anti-balaka militias. The three men travel around the countries encouraging the communities to tolerate and trus each other.

The conflict in CAR began after the Muslim Seleka group seized power following a military coup in March 2013. Six months later largely Christian militia known as Anti-balaka launched a series of counterattacks.

Some 2.7 million people, over half the country’s population rely on aid.