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First report of the Public Issues Committee

The Public Issues Committee report after reviewing the proposals for public issues actions recommended by the Executive Committee, WCC Central Committee , Sep. 2002

02 September 2002

World Council of Churches
CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Geneva, Switzerland
26 August - 3 September 2002


First report of the Public Issues Committee


1. The Public Issues Committee has reviewed the proposals for public issues actions recommended by the Executive Committee and

recommends that the Central Committee request the Public Issues Committee to prepare the following for adoption:

· Statement on South Asia
· Minute on the Peace Process in Sudan
· Statement on Violence in Colombia
· Statement on the Ecumenical Response to the Situation in the Holy Land
· Statement on the Threats of Military Action against Iraq
· Minute on the September 11th Attacks on the USA and their Aftermath

2. The Committee received and considered two additional proposals for action on public issues:

2.1. Mr. Welly Mandowen conveyed a letter to the General Secretary from the Executive Board of the Synod of the Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua, requesting
· that a letter be sent to the Government of Indonesia urging it to assure respect for human rights in Papua Province, to desist from threats against or intimidation of pro-independence party leaders in the Province; expressing concern about the increasing presence of Muslim Jihad troops and the of Indonesian government troops in the region; and urging it to resolve differences there through peaceful dialogue; and
· that a letter be sent to the churches and ecumenical partners in West Papua, encouraging them to participate in such a dialogue as agents of peace and reconciliation through dialogue.

The Committee
recommends that the Central Committee ask the General Secretary to send such letters on its behalf to the President of Indonesia and to the churches and ecumenical partners in West Papua.

2.2. Rev. Dr. Bernice Powell-Jackson recalled the extensive efforts of the WCC in the early 1980’s to express solidarity with the churches and peoples of Micronesia. The Compact of Free Association subsequently entered into between the USA and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is currently being renegotiated. The relevant US law expired in 2001 and an amended law is now being considered in the US Congress. The US is proposing significant alterations in the terms of the Compact with the FSM that would have a profound negative impact on the people of Micronesia. An outstanding matter of particularly deep concern has been addressed by them in a Petition for changed Circumstances for Just Compensation for the impact on the population of earlier US nuclear testing on their atolls, the dimensions of which were not disclosed at the time of the signing of the original compact. US churches are working in consort with the people of the Marshall Islands to have their views effectively heard in the US Congress debates. She requested, and the Public Issues Committee:

recommends that the Central Committee instruct the Public Issues Committee to develop an appropriate public issues action on this concern and present it for adoption.