ISSUE 278                                                                                                                  JULY 2017
A word from the International Secretariat...

A number of exciting events and projects have taken place over the past several weeks. Whether it is advocacy work taking place at the UN on the latest discussions around the possibility of a nuclear weapons ban treaty or welcoming a new member organisation from Africa into our network, Pax Christi International is working for nonviolent change in our world today. This month's newsletter features some of those stories as well as others referencing our work on the refugee crisis, Palestine-Israel, the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative and the work of our member organisations around the globe.

 

Thank you so much for your ongoing support of this movement and for all the work you do to witness deeply and concretely to the power of peace and nonviolence in our world today.

Pax Christi International holds side-event at UN discussing the latest draft of the nuclear weapons ban treaty

by Alice Kooij Martinez,

Senior Advocacy Officer


In our recent UN panel discussion on the nuclear weapons ban treaty text, ‘Is the Draft up to the Task? Ethical, Humanitarian and Faith-based Assessments’, we discussed the human-centredness of the provisions of the draft text from 23 June. The panel discussion took place while states are in the final days of active negotiations on a few outstanding issues. The panelists included:


  • Marie Dennis, Co-President, Pax Christi International
  • Fernando Luque Márquez, Counselor of the UN Mission of Ecuador
  • Gerry Lee, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  • Susi Snyder, Nuclear Disarmament Programme Manager, PAX
  • Chair: Mr. Jonathan Frerichs, Disarmament Representative, Pax Christi International and World Council of Churches


It was emphasised by participants and speakers that the treaty process is a milestone and builds on decades of work. Snyder pointed out that it is incredibly important that the treaty will prohibit and stop states parties from making, having, getting and using nuclear weapons and preclude assisting other states in doing so.


Read the entire article by clicking here.

Pax Christi International signs joint statement for World Refugee Day

The Christian Bible tells the story of two men, Peter and Cornelius, utterly divided by religious belief and culture, who in encountering each other discovered a truth about God’s common will for them that neither had previously grasped. They learnt that the Holy Spirit brings down walls and unites those who might think that they have nothing in common.


All around the world, women, men, and children are forced by violence, persecution, natural and human-caused disasters, famine, and other factors, to leave their homelands. Their desire to escape suffering is stronger than the barriers erected to block their way. The opposition by some countries to the migration of forcibly displaced people will not keep those who undergo unbearable suffering from leaving their homes.


Wealthy countries cannot evade their responsibility for the wounds inflicted on our planet – environmental disasters, the arms trade, developmental inequality – that drive forced migration and human trafficking. While it is true that the arrival of migrants in more developed countries can present real and significant challenges, it can also be an opportunity for openness and change...


Catholic Nonviolence Initiative presented in Canada events

from The Catholic Register


Pax Christi International is stepping up its efforts to position the Catholic Church as a leader in promoting nonviolence.


The peace group’s aim is to initiate a global conversation and “promote practices and strategies for nonviolent peace making,” said Judy Coode, Pax Christi’s coordinator for the Catholic NonViolence Initiative.


Pax Christi International is preparing to hold five online-roundtable discussions to explore separate themes: foundational theology of nonviolence; biblical foundations of Jesus’ non-violence; non-violence and just peace — a new moral framework, integrating nonviolence into the life of the Church, and the power of active nonviolence.


Between 10 and 15 “theologians and peace practitioners” will be invited to take part in each conversation and contribute to the creation of a document outlining their conclusions, said Coode, who presented the plan June 23 at Toronto’s Mary Ward Centre...


#ThisIsNonviolence image for June from Pax Christi Pilipinas

Throughout 2017, Pax Christi International is making a special effort to "affirm the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church". Help us spread the message of the vitality and strength of active nonviolence to create social change in our world today!


Since January, we've been circulating messages over FacebookTwitter and other social media platforms encouraging people that "This is what NONVIOLENCE looks like" with the hashtag #ThisIsNonviolence. Help us spread the word by sharing these messages now and tagging it #ThisIsNonviolence. The image for June 2017 is above and comes to us from Pax Christi Pilipinas.


We've created a social media primer for you with suggestions for how to use the messages below and participate in the campaign via your social media accounts. You can find the primer by clicking here.


Click here to read more about this awareness-raising campaign and share this month's image from Pax Christi Pilipinas.

Refugee Stories: Interview with  Bigirimana Musa in Lusenda
Refugee Camp, DRC

by Olivier Lungwe Fataki
Young Peace Journalists Project

The following interview was done by Olivier Lungwe Fataki, a member of the Young Peace Journalists. It is the latest entry in the Young Peace Journalists project featuring the stories and voices of refugees.


Bigirimana Musa is a Burundian citizen, 35 years old, married with a child. He ran, locally, the youth league of the political party known as FEDES-Sangira (Forum for Equity Development, Democracy and Sovereignty). Nowadays, he lives in the Lusenda Refugee Camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


His situation as a refugee is the result of the political opinion he was supporting in his country, while the regime in place was witch-hunting for anyone who had participated somehow in the demonstrations against the third term of President Peter Nkurunzinza...


Pax Christi International signs onto oral statement by BICE and its partners from Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo and Paraguay

Pax Christi International signed onto an oral statement, initiated by BICE, the National Catholic Child Bureau in the DRC, and its partners from Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo and Paraguay. The title of the statement is "Illegal detention of children having committed offenses classified as offenses in the DRC."


Following is a brief overview of the statement's content.


The BICE, the National Catholic Child Bureau in the DRC (BNCE-DRC) and the signatory organizations including Pax Christi International highlighted the following dysfunctions concerning the administration of juvenile justice in the DRC:


The 2009 law provides for the establishment in particular of:


  • Establishment of Guard, Reeducation of the State (EGEE), Article 117 EPL; 
  • Establishment of Preventive Guard for Children (EGPE), Article 108 EPL;
  • State Rehabilitation Institutions (ERE), Article 117 EPA...
Pax Christi International calls for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for a renewed peace process

In this month of the commemoration of 50 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, Pax Christi International in collaboration with its members, urges the international community to call for the immediate end of the 50-year Israeli occupation and for the parties to reengage in a peace process in compliance with international law.


Brussels, June 1st – Beginning with the Six Day war, 5-10 June, 1967, five decades of military occupation in disregard for international laws and U.N. resolutions and the willful expansion of settlements has led to dire conditions on the ground that systematically violate the human rights of the Palestinian people.


“It is time for the international community to say, ‘Enough!’”, states Pax Christi International, in the light of this month’s 50th anniversary of the occupation....


Pax Christi International seeking
full-time volunteers to help with advocacy, communications

Pax Christi International is looking for an enthusiastic, creative, dedicated and flexible young volunteer to contribute to our advocacy work for several months starting in September 2017. Information about our advocacy work and priorities can be found here.


The volunteer will contribute to our member-based policy influencing work towards international organisations, with a main focus on the EU and UN. He or she will watch international developments, help with the coordination and implementation of advocacy work, carry out communication tasks, participate in gatherings in the EU context as well as undertake other tasks that might pop up, as advocacy work takes place in a fast-changing political context.


We're also looking for a media & communications volunteer to assist the Communications Team with the production of content for its newsletter, website, blog and  social media channels.  Volunteers must be able to make at least a three month commitment.

Find more information by clicking here.

Pax Christi International welcomes new member organisation Africa Reconciled

With great pleasure, Pax Christi International welcomes a new affiliated member, Africa Reconciled. Officially registered and recognized in DR Congo, the director is Pascal Mugaruka. 

Africa Reconciled is headquartered in Goma and their website is www.africareconciled.org Africa Reconciled works in the following fields: leadership and nonviolence; multimedia; healing and reconciliation; community development; justice and advocacy.


Mr. Mugaruka attended the Africa Consultation in Johannesburg in December 2016 and the recent sub-regional workshop held in Goma during which the participants nominated him as “Focal Point” of the antenna (in Goma) of the Pax Christi network of the Great Lakes region.

 

Africa Reconciled is also partnering on a project of Pax Christi Vlaanderen.


A recent example of their work on youth and nonviolence can be found here.

 

We are very pleased to welcome our new member and look forward to working with them in strengthening the Great Lakes Pax Christi regional network.


Pax Christi International activities around the world...
Frayba, our member organisation in Mexico, launched a campaign promoting the defense of the Zoque Indigenous group's land in Chiapas. The campaign #Noaloshidrocarburos #territorioszoques is against fracking that Mexico's government is promoting with transnationals ... The Pax Christi Germany President, Wiltrud Rösch-Metzler, presented a petition with Pax Christi President Bishop Algermissen and Pax Christi general secretary Christine Hoffmann at the meeting place of the bishops in Berlin encouraging their support for the movement ... At an International Peace Consultation on 20 June, the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine issued an open letter to the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the ecumenical movement, stating, “There is still no justice in our land.” The letter quoted Rania Murra, Pax Christi International board member of the Arab Educational Institute in Palestine ... Former Pax Christi International Secretary General Etienne De Jonghe explained Ostpolitik at a conference in Moscow between Russian and Vatican historians ... Pax Christi UK members were in London for an annual gathering which presented highlights of Pax Christi’s work and facilitated conversations on opportunities for peacemaking ... Recently, our member organisation in Russia, Soldiers' Mothers, undertook an action to commemorate the victims of political repression. The action consisted of the dropping of flowers on the waters of the Neva near the building of the so-called Great House (NKVD-KGB, the FSB) where tens of thousands of people died from torture during the Stalinist repressions ...  For more news articles about Pax Christi International activities around the world, visit our website by clicking here.

This newsletter is also posted in Spanish
on the 15th of each month. Click above 
to read last month's issue.

This newsletter is also posted in French
on the 15th of each month. Click above 
to read last month's issue.