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International calls grow for recognizing tie between climate change, human rights

Faith-based and civill groups from around the world are amplifying their call for the UN to more formally recognize the tie between climate change and human rights. A webinar on 26 March convened by the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights, reiterated the need for a new position within the UN: a special rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights.

For churches, advocacy for human rights and disarmament is a long-term commitment

Working on human rights and disarmament for the World Council of Churches (WCC) does not show instant results. The quest needs perseverance, says the WCC programme executive who interacts with the United Nations in Geneva. Jennifer Philpot-Nissen, a trained human rights lawyer, has the task of engaging on human rights and disarmament for the WCC's Commission of the Churches on International Affairs.

“Coventry Cathedral continues to speak a word of hope to the world”

The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth is Bishop of Coventry, the senior leader of the Church of England in Coventry and Warwickshire in the United Kingdom. On 14 November 2020, Bishop Cocksworth, along with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York as well as more than 30 other bishops, issued a statement welcoming the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and calling on the UK Government to join it. The statement coincided with the commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry and destruction of its cathedral.

Uncomfortable conversations? Create a safe space

Almost three years ago I was inspired by my then best friend—and now husband—to join the Thursdays in Black campaign. Hearing about how the movement was working towards a world without rape and violence, I quickly jumped on board as I had witnessed violence so close to home and sometimes in my home growing up.

The rights and dignity of the other

In the words of Prof. Rev. Dr John Langan SJ, a human right "is a right that a human person has simply by virtue of being (human), irrespective of his or her social status, cultural accomplishments, moral merits, religious beliefs, class memberships or cultural relationships.” 

Religions for Peace: Hagia Sophia meant to be shared with all the world

In a 24 July statement on Hagia Sophia, Religions for Peace reiterated its commitment to the universality of heritage as something that can create peace and respect for all faiths. “We call for calm, in times when we see the use of religious sentiments and institutions in a manner that is divisive, thus pitting some believers against one another,” reads the statement. “We stand on the side of peace, and of deliberate, intentional, coexistence, particularly as we hear of the voices, and see the actions, of divisiveness and hatred from many quarters.”

Pilgrims accompany Korean women’s struggles with fallout of 70-year war

A Women of Faith Pilgrim Team gathered, some in person and others virtually, in South Korea from 13-15 July. They were there to listen and accompany Korean church women as they called for an end to patriarchy – manifested in the Japanese colonization of Korea and establishment of ‘comfort women’ and also in the Korean War — and to the resulting pain and injustice that remains a grim daily reality for many today.

WCC joins UN statement on harrowing violations in Philippines

The World Council of Churches (WCC) joined the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and United Methodist Church in a joint statement prepared for the 44th session of the Human Rights Council. The statement calls upon the Philippine government to end human rights violations. “We welcome the High Commissioner’s report on human rights in the Philippines,” reads the statement. “It accu-rately describes the harrowing violations committed by the government, which is continuing to ag-gravate the situation.”

Papuan religious leaders urge justice as an end to racism

In a statement to the president of the Republic of Indonesia, Papuan religious leaders are urging justice for seven defendants on trial in the Balikpapan - East Kalimantan District Court who held a demonstration because they were rejecting racist treatment. “But the indictments and charges at the trial were very different from the data and facts in the field,” reads the statement. “They are victims of racism but they have been accused of treason.”