Archive for the ‘human rights’ tag
INTERFAITH EVENT FRIDAY: Solidarity Circle for Father Solalinde and the Caravan Opening Doors to Hope
The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in partnership with the DePaul University Office of Religious Diversity is convening a special one hour solidarity circle for interfaith leaders to meet Catholic priest, Padre Alejandro Solalinde, and his Caravan Opening Doors To Hope.
Solalinde is traveling the U.S. with a large group of victimized migrants turned activists who have experienced human rights abuses in Mexico. The story of 70,000 Central American brothers and sisters disappearing over the last few years, while Solalinde has been imprisoned and arrested for his work operating a network of shelters is shocking. We are helping share this story and honor his bravery.
NOTE: This event is being produced to connect university-level Interfaith leaders with Padre Solalinde’s entourage, but we are inviting you as guests of CPWR.
In this hour we will…
-Hear words from Mexico’s 2012 Human Rights Award recipient
Watch a short film documenting the reality of the migrant train in Mexico
-Welcome Amnesty International to recognize the work of Padre Solalinde
-Share our blessings and offerings to the migrant activists
-Extend our wishes for peace and security to the caravan
-Personally connect Chicago’s young interfaith leaders with a hero to a humanitarian crisis
TO ATTEND: All are welcome, but for seat reservations contact molly@parliamentofreligion
Applying the “rights-based” approach in national, organizational, and humanitarian bodies on human rights is the methodology studied at the Venice School branch of the European Inter-University Centre. This field of study is often helpful for Interfaith advocates working across sectors to integrate or advance fairness ideologies in individual or community settings. These trainings are open to academics and professionals:
from the European Inter-University Centre:
European Inter-University Centre’s Venice School of Human Rights was born in 2010 with the goal of studying today’s challenges in the field of human rights. It allows its participants coming from all over the world to list these challenges and examine their reasons and possible solutions to deploy. The Venice School intends to highlight that the respect for human rights is the responsibility of all, that «Human Rights are our responsibility». Participants of EIUC’s Venice School will benefit from a faculty of well-known academics and practitioners that will merge theory into practice with the scope of creating a dynamic classroom.
EIUC Venice School of Human Rights is aimed at postgraduate students from all nationalities wishing to consolidate and update their knowledge of human rights. The School is likewise open to members from national and international organisations wishing to specialise and to better understand how to integrate human rights in their daily work. Finally, EIUC Venice School is aimed at Alumni from the E.MA and all other regional masters organised under EIUC umbrella.
After an introduction on general challenges, three topics will be examined in depth:
· Freedom of Religion and Belief is a human right that has a longstanding universal recognition. The 1948 Universal Declaration guarantees its enjoyment. Today we witness more and more to a clash between two systems that oppose religious values to human rights in different areas: women’s rights, gay marriages, ritual slaughtering, circumcision, protection of children… What is the status of religious freedom? How can we protect religious minorities? How can we reconcile religious freedom with other rights?
· Another challenge we face nowadays is discrimination based on sexual orientation. Discrimination against LGBTI is extremely common. The aim during this school is to examine the rights recognized at the universal and regional levels and educate the participants about how to protect this particularly vulnerable category of persons.
· Finally, the last topic we wish to address during this year’s School is how international organizations should integrate human rights into their policies. The European Union has, for instance, underlined the need in its action plan to integrate a rights-based approach within its policies. This cluster will try to familiarize the participants with the core elements of Rights-Based Approach raising awareness of common obstacles and challenges and giving a methodology to apply in all phases of the programming process.
Dates: 27 June – 6 July 2013
Type of courses: Lectures in the plenum and smaller seminars
Application deadline: 30 April 2013
by Dana Attocknie
from the Native American Times
A dozen students from Haskell Indian Nations University are walking to the save the Wakarusa Wetlands, the only remaining native wetland prairie in Lawrence, Kan., from being destroyed in order to become the South Lawrence Trafficway (SLT). Their walk through seven states is named the Trail of Broken Promises, and their first steps were taken on May 13, 2012 from Lawrence, Kan. Their journey will go through 50 communities, cover 1,100 to 1,300 miles, and end July 9 in Washington, D.C. where the students will present the Protection of Native American Sacred Places Act to Congress. The bill amends the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, “to ensure that federal laws protecting the free exercise of religion include protection of traditional Native American Sacred Places where ceremonies, commemorations, observances or worship are conducted or occur, and to provide a right of action to protect Native American Sacred Places.”
“This is a spiritual issue. We believe that Congress needs to address specific legislation to protect sacred places in an inclusive manner for all people whom those places affect … By walking the Trail of Broken Promises we call attention to the spiritual interconnectedness that we as human beings have with our environment and all elements within it,” Millicent Pepion, of the Navajo and Blackfeet Nations, said to United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya, on May 3 in Tulsa. “We declare that a mutual respect and dignity be given to Native American people in concerns that affect our home communities. We respectfully request that the U.S. government adhere to our cultural, social, medical, environmental, and spiritual interests that the Trail of Broken Promises members seek to protect.”
Pepion is active in the Wetlands Preservation Organization and the Indigenous and American Indian Studies Club at Haskell. Her quest to bring awareness to the wetlands is part of her Commitment to Action that was accepted into the Clinton Global Initiative University. In her commitment letter she quotes Dr. Daniel Wildcat, her advisor, as reminding her, “‘It is not our right to protect Mother Earth, it is our responsibility.’”
by Rabbi Jack Bemporad, Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, and Susan Barnett
from Huffington Post
We don’t honor God when 4,500 children die every day — but they do — from the lack of something so simple, each of us takes it for granted: a safe glass of water.
Four thousand five hundred children — that’s one every 20 seconds, a little life extinguished.
While the last couple of years have seen an increase in awareness about the global water crisis, it’s still the No. 1 killer of children around the globe. Safe water and sanitation remains the greatest under-recognized global humanitarian crisis we face and its impact is staggering. It’s the world’s dirty secret.
Almost a billion people do not have access to safe water globally and 2.5 billion lack the dignity of basic sanitation. This lack of access translates into more stunning numbers:
- 50 percent of all malnutrition is due to the lack of safe water and sanitation
- As is 80 percent of all disease
- Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled by patients suffering from water-borne diseases
- This leading killer of children under five kills more children than malaria, AIDS and TB combined
- The result is a catastrophic 2 million, mostly preventable deaths, every year.
We fight malaria but poor sanitation increases breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. We spend millions making sure HIV/AIDS patients get the anti-retroviral drugs they need, but they take these drugs with disease-ridden water.
Current U.S. funding for water and sanitation development amounts to less than one one-hundredth of a percent of the federal budget. Yet for every dollar invested, there’s an economic return of $8.
With all the good work the faiths do, from malnutrition to malaria, it’s all being undercut by the overarching absence of clean water and sanitation. Not prioritizing the global water crisis defies logic. It prevents productivity, increases poverty and inequality for women.
by Katie Taylor
from the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.
Ms. Fatima Gerbil knows from personal experience the challenges children in her community face. As a child Fatuma became an orphan, and as she grew older, she began to understand more and more the personal burden carried by parentless children.
In 2003, she started the Community-Based Child Support Program, directed at both Christians and Muslims, in Bahirdar, Ethopia, which began with 87 children. Fatuma’s program focuses on educational and psychological support, as well as developing life- skills. An important part of her advocacy efforts is encouraging schools to provide financial support for orphaned children who cannot afford school fees. These include children who have lost one parent, those who have lost both parents, and those who are in living in great poverty. For children who have lost only one parent, Fatuma works to support that family financially and emotionally. For children who have lost both parents, they look for relatives, and support the family once the child is taken in.
What I find most inspirational about Fatuma‘s story was not only her passion for helping children in her community but how she is willing to try anything to improve the lives of these children. This includes leveraging religious leaders to support her cause, and she has an excellent working relationship with the imams as well as with other government and community leaders.
Fatuma also believes Imams can play a great role in eliminating harmful traditional practices such as child marriage. Imams are highly heard in the mosque. So if they speak out boldly on these harmful traditional practices, it will be easy to bring about the desired change.
Fatuma has become talented at leveraging religious institutions to support her initiatives. Thanks to her efforts, at the ritual Muslim engagement ceremony, it is now established practice for the couple to be asked, in private, if they love each other. The man will also be asked if he understands the woman’s rights. Fatuma has also established an impressive record of legal interventions in unlawful marriages with underage girls or polygamous arrangements. Her role in the community as the protector of the vulnerable has allowed her to expand her advocacy and she looks forward to establishing her programs in new neighborhoods to spread her message of equality.
Katie Taylor is Executive Director of The Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA) CIFA engages and trains leaders from multiple faith traditions to deliver critical development messages and services. These messages link interfaith efforts with those of civil society and governmental campaigns to reduce poverty and disease.
This article is part of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation series: My Female Faith Hero honouring International Women’s Day
From State of Formation
Socially and professionally, American Jews have often felt that they were being ‘put on the stand’ for their beliefs. Sometimes their beliefs even seemed to be on trial nationally – notably during the Red Scares leading up to and during the Cold War, when a disproportionate number of Jews were blacklisted.
But seldom has our religion actually been put on the stand. No organ of the federal government has, to my knowledge, held hearings to investigate American Jewry for disloyalty or radicalization. We may have feared such public humiliation – but it has not yet materialized.
By contrast, an effort is currently underway to single out American Muslims. Representative Peter King (R-NY), Chair of the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives, has declared his intention to hold a public hearing in Congress on the “radicalization” of Muslim Americans.
by Janaan Hashim
Janaan Hashim is a member of the Council’s Board of Trustees and is currently in Israel/Palestine with a delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative to “focus on learning from and spotlighting the work of women peacebuilders.”
My day began with a blessing in Hebrew after breakfast with my new Rabbi friend, Amy Eilberg. She’s is a member of this delegation and person who I deeply respect. I respect her for her courage to look truth in the eye and to try to sort out all that she is taking in.
We are in Ramallah, a large, bustling town in the Occupied Territories. In a large church hall filled with 300 Palestinian women, we heard their their stories of difficulties and were inspired by their signs of determination and strength to shape their own futures. Rabbi Eilberg was, for sure, the only rabbi in the crowd.
Did she feel uncomfortable? Perhaps…I would. Despite the setting, she carried herself with poise and dignity. How would TV-land portray this scene? Perhaps with a woman walking past Rabbi Eilberg and spitting in her direction, or perhaps with a mob surrounding her, trying to blame her for making their lives so difficult. This was the farthest thing from what happened.
Our delegation was very warmly received. Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams assured the women of our purpose – to hear their stories and to take them back and relay them to the world. We listened intently to their common problems, problems that are no stranger to the world: unemployment, access to health care, violation of basic human rights. Other problems were less common to those of us in the West: tight checkpoints prohibiting movement, confiscation of land, being shot.
We heard stories of inspiration: a woman who married young and went back to school to earn her bachelors degree, another woman with a handicapped hand not holding her back from living a life of dignity, and women helping other women in business.
The rabbi listened and absorbed; the women watched and observed. Tiny steps toward feeling comfortable with one another during a very intense time in history. I’m certain the rabbi will remember her experience for many years…but I wonder if she realizes how her presence may have positively impacted these 300 women… how her presence may have made a difference in these women’s lives the next time they see a Jewish woman.
The Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday on July 6 marks a bittersweet milestone. The anniversary is cause for celebration that his message of peace has become so widespread, yet it is also illustrative of his mortal frailty as China’s power grows and the Dalai Lama’s fades.
But there is also a deeper resonance — and controversy — to his preachings: that peace and compassion are more important than prosperity and financial advancement. It is a message, at one time straightforward and prehensile, that now poses a dilemma, particularly to the West, in our troubled times. Practicing what the Dalai Lama preaches, for some, has never been harder.
In September 2006 a murder on a remote mountainside on the Tibet/Nepalese border perfectly illustrated the West’s conflicted response when the moral imperative to speak up for human rights and spiritual freedom comes at the risk of increasing prosperity. Near Choy Oyu, the sixth tallest mountain in the world, a group of Chinese People’s Armed Police opened fire on a group of 74 Tibetan refugees in full view of 100 or so Western climbers.
Among them was 17-year-old Tibetan Kelsang Namtso. Forbidden from becoming a nun by her family in Tibet for fear that it would lead her into trouble with the Chinese authorities, she took her vows in secret. A year later, frustrated that that she could not practice her faith in a working nunnery because of draconian regulations and interference from Communist party officials, she decided the only option she had left to find spiritual fulfillment was to cross the high Himalaya. A chance of a few seconds with the Dalai Lama and the opportunity to practice her faith freely in India was worth a grueling journey beset with danger. Together with her best friend Dolma Palkyi, she set out. After 12 brutal days, just 20 minutes from the border, Kelsang Namtso was shot in the back and killed as Western climbers watched.
Shortly afterwards children, monks and others who couldn’t escape were led through the climbers’ camp at gunpoint, some later to be tortured in a mountaintop military compound.
Some of the Western mountaineers, making considerable amounts of money leading climbing expeditions, urged others in camp not to talk about the murder lest the Chinese retaliate by banning them from climbing in Tibet. In short, the climbers faced the same dilemma that the West faces in that if it wants to economically prosper together with the Middle Kingdom it must, at China’s insistence, turn a blind eye to its human rights abuses. A few climbers broke the adopted code of silence — one Romanian filmed the murder — and the story shortly thereafter became an international incident as the footage contradicted China’s assertion that the soldiers killed in self-defense. It was the first time a human rights murder in Tibet had been captured on film since the Chinese invasion in 1950.
Kelsang’s best friend, Dolma Palkyi, and 43 others made it to India where they met the Dalai Lama.
I too met the Dalai Lama shortly after Kelsang Namtso’s murder and found a profoundly human presence, rather than a lofty god-king. He was above all else direct and simply angry, not only at the murder but also at the West’s apathetic response to China’s brutal treatment of Tibetans. He told me that the West was often consumed with indifference, self-interest and quite simply racism.
“In the sixties, seventies and eighties, we went through incredible suffering,” he explained. “But they [the west] all looked at Russia and not China.” His chest was heaving as he spoke. “Perhaps it is because we are Asian, they don’t care?” he asked me directly. “So you see there is even discrimination in human rights!”
Click here to read the full article.
Council Trustee Kusimita Pedersen addresses apostasy laws around the world. “The value of religious freedom is becoming more convincing,” says Pedersen in a wide-ranging discussion focusing on conversion in Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and other religions. The Parliament of Religions hopes to engage these issues through its many programs on conflict resolution.
To read the full article, click here.