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Asian churches to deepen their commitment to overcoming violence in 2005

Asia has the potential to become economically prosperous in the near future, but it is also likely to see increasing disparities of health and wealth. These injustices are themselves a form of violence that may in turn lead to yet more expressions of violence in the region. This potential scenario makes the focus on the Asian region in 2005 by the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) all the more relevant.

WCC general secretary pays tribute to Pope John Paul II

The full text of the tribute paid by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia to Pope John Paul II, highlighting some of the specific achievements of his pontificate, is given below.

Pope John Paul II: outstanding figure in modern Christendom, one of the most courageous spiritual leaders of our time

Expressing the profound sadness of the World Council of Churches (WCC) following the announcement by the Holy See of the death of His Holiness Pope John Paul II today, the WCC central committee moderator Catholicos Aram I said :

Kobia calls for risky, change-provoking ecumenism

The ecumenical movement must remain a ferment of change, recovering the spirit that led it to take risks, World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia told a gathering of Asian church leaders.

WCC deeply concerned about the status of Jerusalem

Expressing alarm about new political developments which adversely affect the status of Jerusalem, the director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs issued an open letter today reiterating the position of its member churches and calling for "an open and inclusive Jerusalem, a city of shared sovereignty and citizenship, a city of two peoples and three faiths, of Christians, Muslims and Jews".

Churches lead efforts for trade justice during Global Week of Action

Churches and church-related organizations around the world are leading events during the Global Week of Action on Trade, 10-16 April 2005.

Bangladesh: Kobia and president Ahmed discuss concerns of the country's tiny Christian minority

Rights of minorities, increasing trends of religious intolerance, political violence, the need for strengthening of interfaith dialogue at grassroots level and Christian contributions to social development were discussed by WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and Prof. Dr Iajjudin Ahmed, President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, during his first visit to the country.

Kobia to pay first visit to WCC member churches in Bangladesh and Thailand

From 26 March to 2 April World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia will visit WCC member churches in Bangladesh and Thailand for the first time since taking office. On 1 April, he will also be the keynote speaker at the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) general assembly.

April 2005

The rights of the Papuan people will be the focus of WCC's involvement in the 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The WCC delegation includes representatives from Papua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Nepal and Colombia. A written submission has been presented to the commission, and a study on the economic, social and cultural rights of the Papuan people, commissioned by German churches with the WCC and undertaken by Papuan academics and human rights defenders, will be released on Thursday, 31 March.

Can refusal stop the occupation?

By Martin Smedjeback (*)

Indonesian province of Papua main focus of WCC work at 2005 UNCHR session

The economic, social and cultural rights of the Papuan people will be the main focus of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) involvement in this year's 61st session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

Human rights in Iraq: Humanitarian law and human rights experts to examine role of UN and international community

A seminar on the responsibility of the UN for human rights in Iraq, to be held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on Tuesday 22 March 2005 (13:00-16:00), will focus on the norms and principles that should apply to the situation in Iraq, and facilitate a dialogue on the responsibilities of the international community and UN human rights machinery.

In Denmark, Kobia helps in record appeal for Africa

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March 2005

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia visits WCC member churches in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Meetings with WCC members and partners, church leaders and government representatives are scheduled for all three countries.

Ecumenical accompaniers in Israel and Palestine: working to reduce violence, improve people's lives

A new group of 12 "ecumenical accompaniers" last week joined four others staying on in Israel and Palestine from previous groups within the framework of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The new arrivals bring the total number of ecumenical accompaniers now on the ground to 16.

WCC central committee requests legal rights for Guantanamo detainees

The World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee urged the government of the United States "to immediately grant the legal rights accorded to detainees" to "over 600 foreign nationals, mostly Muslims" held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base "without due process and in total violation of the norms and standards of international humanitarian and human rights law".