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Israel/Palestine, human rights among issues to be discussed at WCC “Advocacy Week” in New York

06 November 2003

Media contact in New York: Jeffrey Penn, Mobile +1 646 265 0405

The work and concerns of churches and ecumenical organizations world-wide on issues like Palestine/Israel and human rights will be discussed in workshops and public seminars during an “International Affairs and Advocacy Week” organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) in New York City, 10-14 November 2003.

Keynote speakers like Avraham Burg, Labour party member and former speaker of the Israeli parliament (Knesset), Bertrand Ramcharan, acting UN high commissioner on human rights, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, co-chairman of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, Theo Van Boven, UN special rapporteur on torture, and Dr Richard Falk, professor of International Law and Practice, will participate in public seminars scheduled during the UN General Assembly lunch breaks so as to involve government delegations and UN staff.

The WCC general secretary-elect, Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, and the outgoing WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser, will also participate in the event. Kobia will preach at the worship that will open the activities on Monday morning, 10 November, and Raiser will take part in a seminar scheduled for Thursday 13 November (see agenda below).

This is the first time that key people responsible for international affairs and advocacy in churches, specialized ministries and ecumenical organizations from around the world will gather together in New York to make their work and concerns more visible at the UN, and to support United Nations' work on peace and conflict resolution.

The following press conferences are scheduled:

Samuel Kobia

Vision and priorities of the ecumenical movement for the 21st century

Monday, 10 November at 10:00 a.m.

Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza, Room 9-D

Avraham Burg and Richard Falk

Peace and international law in Israel and Palestine

Tuesday, 11 November at 11:00 a.m.

UNCA club, United Nations secretariat building, 3rd flor

Mohamed Sahnoun and Konrad Raiser

The responsibility to protect: an ongoing conversation among WCC member churches about the morality of military intervention for humanitarian purposes

Thursday, 13 November at 12:00 noon

UNCA club, United Nations secretariat building, 3rd flor

The following public seminars are scheduled to take place from 13:00-15:00 p.m. at the Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza, NYC: Monday, 10 November: Human rights: 10 years after Vienna; Tuesday, 11 November: Peace and International Law in Israel and Palestine; Wednesday, 12 November: Peace in Sudan; Thursday, 13 November: The responsibility to protect.

There will also be a celebration of “60 years of church advocacy at the UN” and of the 40th anniversary of the UN Church Center on Monday 10 November, 18:00-19:00 p.m. at the same venue.

The complete programme of public seminars and biodata about the key speakers are available at:

www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/press_corner/advocacyweek-prog.html