ISSUE 283                                                        WINTER 2019
A word from the International Secretariat...
Each new year offers new possibilities: new growth and new challenges, new experiences and new relationships. A new year for Pax Christi International is no exception. We see 2019 for all of the possibilities it presents for the promotion and practice of active nonviolence in our world; for peace where our world has been racked by conflict; for justice, where too long oppression has reigned. Our movement is gifted with communities all over the world who are trying to transform their realities to match the hope, mercy and peace that they envision. We see the seeds of that hope beginning to bear fruit in our projects taking place in the Great Lakes region of Africa and Latin America. We see it in our advocacy work to create a world free of nuclear weapons and a renewed peace process in the Middle East. And we see it in our 120 member organisations, all planting seeds and nurturing growth in their various contexts. This past October and November, members of the International Secretariat had the opportunity to witness firsthand, for instance, how peace and nonviolence are at work in New Zealand as Pax Christi Aotearoa shared with us the stories of Parihaka and its legacy in their nation today and how their work is influenced by those events and the Maori culture (pictured above, Sr. Bridget Crisp, rsm; Barbara and Kevin McBride, coordinators of Pax Christi Aotearoa; and Pax Christi International Secretary General General Greet Vanaerschot) .

Our hope for you in this new year is that you find deep rivers to draw upon to sustain your work for peace. We give thanks for all the gifts of this past year and we look forward to all the possibilities of 2019.

In this newsletter, you'll find quick links to highlights of our common work and examples of all that our members are doing for peace, justice and reconciliation while promoting the power of nonviolence in our world. And you can always find more from our network on our website .
Lastly, if you have the means to do so, we hope you'll support this work with a financial contribution. You can click on the "Donate" button on the left to give quickly and securely.

We thank you for your generosity and for all that you do as part of the global network that makes up Pax Christi International.
Pax Christi International launches new advocacy guide; includes examples from throughout our movement
(Issued 7/1/19 ) - Brussels - The International Secretariat of Pax Christi International has made a new advocacy guide aimed at strengthening the advocacy work of our peace network through explaining what advocacy is, sharing examples of effective advocacy work by our representatives, members and partners, as well as tips for strategizing. In the appendices, information can be found on how to make a statement, build a social media campaign and prepare a lobby meeting with decision-makers.

This advocacy guide is intended for all—whether you are new to this work or deeply experienced in advocacy and are looking for some good examples. We highlight that the best and most effective way to carry out advocacy work will depend on specific contexts. ..

PC International Co-president
to visit the Holy Land

Marie Dennis, Pax Christi International Co-President (pictured above in Palestine last year), will join Catholic bishops from many countries around the world in visiting Gaza, the West Bank and Israel this month. 

As we all unfortunately know, the situation in Palestine has been deteriorating over a number of years. In Gaza, Ms. Dennis and the bishops intend on meeting with the pastor of Holy Family parish, the only Catholic parish in Gaza, along with representatives of Catholic Relief Services working in Gaza, among others. In Bethlehem, they will meet with Rania Murra, the Executive Director of the Arab Educational Institute, Pax Christi International's member organisation, among others. . ..

Update on recent developments; roundtables complete their work

The last quarter of 2018 finds us overwhelmed and grateful for the intense and ground-breaking efforts of five working groups (“roundtables”) which wrapped up a year’s work in August. Each group has submitted an extraordinary document focused on the application of nonviolence in our faith tradition: in our study of the Hebrew and early Christian texts; as the basis for deep theological reflection; as an ethical framework for effective responses to violence in this current age; as a subject for preaching and teaching in Church bodies and structures; and as a lifestyle and powerful peacebuilding practice already embraced by Catholics around the world.  . ..

Pope Francis issues 2019 World Day of Peace message
On New Year's Day, Pope Francis welcomed 2019 with a message for the World Day of Peace, also celebrated as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in the Church's liturgical calendar. 

"Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history," stated Pope Francis at the beginning of the message. 

He goes on to proclaim, "Peace, in effect, is the fruit of a great political project grounded in the mutual responsibility and interdependence of human beings. But it is also a challenge that demands to be taken up ever anew. It entails a conversion of heart and soul; it is both interior and communal..."  

Pax Christi International statement on the 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration on Human Rights

(Issued 10/12/18) - Brussels –  Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948. A milestone document, it enumerated, for the first time, a universal core of human rights that, as agreed upon, guaranteed the fundamental rights of every individual. The declaration is an essential component to our present-day foundation of human rights protection. (1) For 70 years, the UNDR has served as a roadmap for the advancement of human rights around the world.

The promotion and the protection of human rights, such as those recognised in the UDHR, are at the very heart of Pax Christi International’s work as a global peace and nonviolence movement. Through activities grounded in the belief of the power of nonviolence, our member organisations and partners educate people and communities about their human rights, promote services to ensure that their human rights will be met, and cooperate with—as well as pressure—decision-makers to respect and advance human rights through their actions...

Colombian delegation advocates
on the peace process, extractivism

(Issued 28/11/18) - Brussels - From the 19th through the 23rd of November 2018 a Colombian delegation from the Conference of Religious (CRC), our member organisation in Colombia, and the Environmental Committee in Defence of Life, our partner organisation, visited Brussels. The aim of the visit of Julia Margarita Bautista Polania (CRC) and Jaime Andrés Tocora Lozano (Committee) was to inform civil society members and EU policy makers regarding the implementation of the peace agreement and the extractives situation under the new presidential context.

The visit of the Colombian delegation took place during the Human Rights Week of the European Parliament which enabled them to attend the High Level Conference on the ‘70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. Also the Colombian delegation participated in a panel debate, “The Colombian Peace Process and Extractives Situation Under a New Government: Which EU Responses Are Needed?” that Pax Christi International organised on 20 November with PAX and OIHDACO. During their visit, the delegation met with other civil society members and officials of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU External Action Service (EEAS) ...

Pax Christi International releases statement for the
World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel
Today, Pax Christi International has released a statement in observance of the 2018 World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. The statement addresses the situation of youth and children, in keeping with the week's official theme, “Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change”.

The statement begins by asserting, "We believe that this year’s theme, 'Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change”', could not be more important or timely as the well-being and rights of children and young people continue to be threatened by the violence and chaos caused by 70 years of conflict, 51 years of occupation and the on-going blockade of the Gaza Strip."

The statement lists statistics which show how especially dire the situation is for Palestinian children, including that nearly half of all young Palestinian children suffer from chronic malnutrition making them more vulnerable to infections, disease, long-lasting physiological impairments and diminished success in school; and approximately 500-700 Palestinian children are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system each year, including minors as young as 12 ...

From the Peace Stories Blog:

Mary Yelenick, UN Team, "Is it
sufficient to simply acknowledge the nonviolent heroes among us?"

It is not difficult to find heroes at the UN: individuals and communities who, in the face of enormous challenges, maintain a commitment to peace and nonviolence. Najlaa Sheekh, a Syrian refugee in Turkey, exemplifies the power of nonviolence in the midst of the ravages and soul-grinding consequences of war.

I first met Najlaa late last Fall, at a forum at the UN sponsored in part by Peace Direct, celebrating women from around the world who were making a difference in their communities. The following day, Najlaa joined our UN-NGO Syria Working Group for a discussion of her life and work.

Najlaa and her family once lived a comfortable life in cosmopolitan Damascus. With the breakout of war in Syria, that life ended. A brutal barrel-bomb attack killed members of her family and demolished parts of her neighborhood ...

Pax Christi International UN Team welcomes new representative

Pax Christi International is very happy to announce that Mr. Doug Hostetter has joined our United Nations delegation in New York City. Hostetter has been the Director of the Mennonite Central Committee's United Nations Office for 12 years, in addition to many other expderiences working for peace and human rights. He has previously served as the co-chair of the Israel Palestine NGO Working Group and has been active in NGO working groups on Syria and the Security Council. For Pax Christi International, Hostetter will be working on issues related to Israel-Palestine and nonviolence.

Hostetter has already had a working relationship with several of the representatives of our New York UN team and we are very honoured for him to join our peace movement. . ..

Pax Christi International member organisation DHUMA receives international human rights award
On Thursday 4 October, Pax Christi International member organisation, Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente (DHUMA), received the prestigious Letelier-Moffitt human rights award from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Since 1976, the human rights award has been given each year to two organisations, one from the United States and one from the international community, in memory of Orlando Letelier, a former diplomat who was exiled from his home country of Chile after the coup in 1973, and Ronni Karpen Moffitt, an IPS staff member. In late September 1976, Moffitt, her husband Michael and Letelier were in a car in Washington, D.C. when a bomb was detonated, killing Letelier and Ronni Moffitt.

DHUMA works in the Puno region of southern Peru to promote social and environmental justice. Working on behalf of indigenous Puno communities, DHUMA recently won two significant legal battles that help communities resist the expansion of mining in the region. DHUMA has successfully defended and uplifted the rights, needs and power of Indigenous people in Peru through capacity-building, advocacy and legal counsel, and resisted the presence of exploitative and extractive mining corporations. ..

Pax Christi International activities around the world...
In Palestine, the Arab Educational Institute asks the world to celebrate Christmas, but don't forget today's Bethlehem . .. In Belgium, BePax is hosting an examination of anti-Semitism as part of Harmony Week in February ... In Haiti, CRAN (Cell of Reflection and National Action) released an assessment of their work for 2018 and posed questions for 2019 ... Pax Christi Germany will hold a consultation on challenges to the movement and how to encourage greater cooperation ... Pax Christi Scotland , the new Scottish branch of the international Catholic peace movement, formally launched in November ... Conversations about how to combat racism are continuing among Catholics in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA), and their latest effort to encourage racial unity and promote social justice featured the leaders of Pax Christi USA ... Pax Christi UK will be observing Peace Sunday on 20 January 2019 employing the theme “Good politics serves peace” ... In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pax Christi Uvira brought the 2nd phase of the project on active nonviolence and entrepreneurship to a close (pictured above) ...  Former Pax Christi International Board member Virginia Saldanha of India was part of a panel on "Women's Voices in the Abuse Crisis" in Rome ... During their tour of New Zealand, Pax Christi International Secretariat staff learned of the variety of issues that Pax Christi Aotearoa local groups are actively working on ... Religious leaders and civil society representatives of different countries and diverse Christian churches, including Pax Christi International members Sr. Filo Hirota of Japan and Fr. Peter-John Pearson of South Africa gathered in Rome from 18-20 September to discuss the urgent task of combating the world’s increasing fear of so-called “strangers” at the "World Conference on Xenophobia, Racism, and Populist Nationalism in the Context of Global Migration” ... On 13 October, an international conference on peace journalism organised by the Dicastery for Communication of the Holy See, in collaboration with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and SIGNIS, took place at the Vatican with Pax Christi International Communications Assistant and Young Peace Journalists Project Coordinator, Vittoria Valentina Di Gennaro, attending ... For more news articles about Pax Christi International activities around the world, visit our website by clicking here.

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