The Seventh-day Adventist Church expresses its grave concern regarding the situation in Yugoslavia, in particular in the Kosovo province. While being concerned about the well-being of its many members and operation of its church organization in this part of the world, the Church is even more concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Kosovo and elsewhere in the region, with hundreds of thousands of displaced and homeless people.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide religious community and, as a matter of principle, endeavors not to be involved in political issues. The Church has consistently refused to do so and intends to maintain this position in the current crisis centering on Kosovo. Nevertheless, it rejects the use of violence as a method for conflict resolution, be it ethnic cleansing or bombing.
With the Church’s long tradition of working actively and quietly for human rights, including in particular religious freedom and the rights of minorities, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is ready to do its part. The Church will endeavor to do so through its world organizational structure, in cooperation with the leaders and members of the Church in the Balkan region, to foster a deeper understanding of and greater respect for human rights and non-discrimination, to meet crying human needs, and to work for reconciliation between national, ethnic, and religious communities.
In the current crisis, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is committed to doing what it can, through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA, the humanitarian agency established by the Church), to bring relief to the many thousands of refugees, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, or social status, who have fled from the Kosovo province into neighboring states, while also closely monitoring the situation and needs of the civilian population in Yugoslavia, in and outside of Kosovo. The Church will utilize its infrastructure in the region in its relief efforts.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church urges the international community and government authorities involved to push for an early end to the crisis on the basis of Christian, moral, and ethical principles of human rights, and good faith negotiations that are fair to all concerned and which may lead to better relationships.
The Church further asks all its members, and the faith community in general, to pray for divine assistance in restoring peace and goodwill to this suffering region.
This statement was voted by the General Conference Administrative Committee, April 6, 1999, and released by the General Conference Office of Public Affairs.