Mobilizing Religious Communities
Multi-Religious Partnerships
The South African Chapter


"As men and women of religion, we confess in humility and penitence that we have very often betrayed our religious ideals and our commitment to peace. It is not religion that has failed the cause of peace, but religious people. This betrayal of religion can and must be corrected."
(Kyoto Declaration, First World Assembly of WCRP in Kyoto, Japan, 1970)

The First World Assembly, 1970

The First World Assembly, Kyoto, Japan, 1970

Founded in 1970, the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP, since 1999 Assembly in Jordan, 

sometimes uses the short version, Religions for Peace, particularly in relation to the inter-religious councils established ) is dedicated to cooperation among the world's religions for peace, while maintaining respect for religious differences. Accredited to the UN, WCRP is a global movement, with over 50 national chapters and members in over 100 countries. WCRP's members are representative of the world's religious communities, including Bahai; Brahma Kumaris; Buddhism; Christianity; Confucianism; Hinduism; Islam; Jainism; Judaism; New Religious Movements; Paganism; Shintoism; Sikhism; Taoism; Traditionalism of the indigenous cultures of Africa, the Americas, Australasia, and Oceania; and Zoroastrianism.

Mobilizing Religious Communities

The World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) mobilizes religious communities to work together to promote peace and understanding, prevent and mediate violent conflicts, to address the root causes of conflict, and to advance human dignity.

WCRP is a non-sectarian, non-political coalition of the leaders and representatives of the major religions of the world . The Executive Committee of WCRP includes Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim as well as leaders from other religious  communities. Information on WCRP and its programs is available at

Multi-Religious Partnerships

Working on an international, regional, national and local  basis, Religions for Peace creates multi-religious partnerships that mobilize the moral and social resources of religious people to address their shared problems. Religions for Peace is active in more than 80 countries, working with national affiliates and regional organizations to find and implement local solutions to local challenges. In the world's great capitals and in remote rural villages, Religions for Peace affiliates empower religious communities to improve lives and promote peace.

The South African Chapter

The South African Chapter of WCRP came into being amidst the struggle against the gross injustices and cruelties of apartheid. Established in 1984 upon the initiative of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it mobilized religious leaders and grassroots members in a unified, prophetic and defiant stance. In response, WCRP-SA became a target for systematic state harassment by the apartheid regime, some of its members being banned, others detained and charged with high treason. Furthermore, many  of its gatherings were held under heavy police presence, its first inaugural Desmond Tutu Peace Lecture in 1985 being placed under a Government banning order, and the Johannesburg hall where the fourth lecture was to be held in 1988 being fire-bombed the previous day. 

With the political dismantling of apartheid, and the first democratic elections of 1994, came also the tenth anniversary of WCRP-SA. To celebrate this event the Peace Lecture was delivered by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and entitled "Let us Celebrate our Diversity".  President Nelson Mandela in his response highlighted the continued importance of our dialogue for the next decade of our work when he remarked,
"I wish however to emphasize the role of the religious community in  reconstruction and development. On the one hand, we view it as only  natural that the partnership against apartheid should mature into one  for the betterment of the life of all South Africans, especially the poor. On the other hand, your prophetic voice is crucial in reinforcing the moral fibre of the new democratic state - be it in the application  of human rights statutes or the integrity of its financial and other  practices.”

June 1999 marked South Africa's second democratic election. The general peacefulness of this important event clearly showed the maturing of our young democracy. With the inauguration of a new president however, there also came a new phase in our new nation's history: that of social and economic transformation.

WCRP-SA hereby continues in its partnership for a just and equitable  South Africa by:

  • Promoting religious tolerance, freedom and dialogue
  • Assisting in conflict resolution and peace monitoring
  • Working for disarmament and demilitarization
  • Developing peace-education programs
  • Encouraging equitable and sustainable development
  • Furthering human rights, gender equality and racial harmony
  • Maintaining the rights of refugees and other displaced persons
  • Working for social and economic justice for the poor
  • Ensuring environmental justice and awareness
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Paddy Meskin: President WCRP-SA
Tel: +27-31 3735404
Email: tba
ML Sultan Campus, Durban University of Technology, ML Sultan Road, Durban 4001
© WCRP South Africa 2009
WCRP South Africa is part of the
African Council of Religious Leaders (ACRL)

Religions for Peace (WCRP)