Historic Religious Liberty Conference in Cameroon

News March 2000

Yaounde, Cameroon ... [ANN]

The first religious liberty conference to be held in the ethnically and religiously divided country of Cameroon took place in the capital city Yaounde on March 9-11. Sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the conference dealt with methods of promoting religious harmony in pluralistic societies and was attended by more than 80 delegates from other central African countries including Chad, Burundi, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, Guinea and Gabon.

"This historic meeting in Cameroon took place against the background of recent religious riots in nearby Nigeria in which more than 1,000 people were killed as a result of religious intolerance," says Jean Emmanuel Nlo Nlo, who played a central role in organizing the conference.

"Our primary goal with this conference, and other similar religious liberty meetings around the world, is to help create conditions in which personal freedom of belief and religious tolerance can flourish," adds keynote conference speaker, Dr. John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the World Church.

The conference, which was called "Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society in the New Millenium," attracted extensive media attention as well as praise from local politicians, say meeting participants. According to Graz, one of the most significant outcomes of the conference was the commitment of delegates to begin religious liberty association chapters in their own countries.

Emmanuel Boma, Adventist Church president in the Central Africa region pledged the commitment of the Adventist Church "to both supporting the work of the International Religious Liberty Association and to contributing to better understanding and peace among the people in our own countries." [Jean Emmanuel Nlo Nlo /ANN Staff]