Public Witness

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS: CPTers arrested at The Hague Nuclear Security summit—report by Maarten van der Werf

On 24 March 2014, CPTer Maarten van der Werf, along with Cocky de Graaf and Jet Visser, who had participated in CPT delegations to Palestine, were part of an effort by Dutch peace organizations and the Amsterdam Catholic Worker to hand-deliver a message to world leaders attending the nuclear summit at The Hague.  The message, according to van der Werf, was essentially this: “The commitment to nuclear disarmament is a better way to achieve nuclear security than enhancing the protection of present nuclear installations.”… Van der Werf wrote later of the experience,

We were arrested after diverting from the compulsory path to a field where we were allowed to demonstrate.  We, however, were not demonstrating, we were going to hand deliver a letter to the world leaders!  After 150 meters, we were met by an overpowering crowd of regular police and military police.  An estimated sixty participants were arrested.  We received fines or [orders to appear in court.]

I sat the full six hours [the maximum allowed] in a cell of one by two meters without any windows or outside light coming in.  It was an experience of complete loss of control over my situation.  It was very boring as well, so [it was a good time to reflect and I had some of the following thoughts]:

Our experience and the topic of the summit are all about security.  Security and overreaction have to do with fear.

We were mostly people over sixty who also participated in the actions against cruise missiles beginning in the 1980s.  B-61 bombs are still here and will be modernized (the nuclear part as well as new tailpieces to make them GPS guided bombs).  Business for Boeing!

The summit was about terrorists.  Can we trust ourselves with a nuclear arsenal?  Are we sure we are not going to use it?  If we decide not to use them, threatening is without substance, and we had better make them into bicycles.

COLOMBIA: Get ready for Days of Prayer and Action 5-7 April 2014

Every year, communities across North America come together in solidarity with our Colombia brothers and sisters in an effort to show policymakers that they want real change in U.S. and Canadian policy towards Colombia.  With the Colombian government and the largest guerrilla group, the FARC, currently engaged in peace negotiations, there is renewed hope for an end to the war in Colombia.  After five decades of unspeakable violence, forced displacements, widespread massacres, threats against unionists and human rights activists, and the economic and social exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, let us join Colombians in saying it is time for peace.  This year's Days of Prayer and Action are April 5-7.

Directly translated, the word “adelante” means “forward.”  â€œAdelante” can also mean “ahead,” with the implied desire to move past the current situation to something further on, to something beyond.  Peace and justice are not static concepts and neither are the people of Colombia.  With one foot in front of the other, Colombians are already moving ahead and going forward in the work of peace and justice throughout the country.  We hope that you will use the resources below and join with the organizations, churches, and ordinary people in Colombia in their desire and action to move forward.

¡ADELANTE!  Peace with justice for ALL Colombians!

Dedicate a worship service to peace with justice for all Colombians.  Included are prayers, songs, poems, stories, reflections, and more.  Click here for a bulletin insert to engage your congregati


Join our Colombian sisters and brothers
in moving peace forward!  This packet
includes three ways YOU can make a
Advocate for a change in US
policy by writing letters to Congress.
Create a display or craft night and what
steps are needed to  finally bring peace
with justice to Colombia. Demonstrate your
commitment to Colombia with  a public action.

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Don't forget the living

The people of Halabja and these young protesters
ask the world not to forget the dead, but also not
to forget the living.

COLOMBIA/CHICAGO: Cries of Las Pavas women reach U.S. senator’s ears

Hundreds of Chicagoans, including a U.S. senator, hear the calls of Colombian women for rule of law and respect for court-recognized land rights. At stake is whether officials will honor their commitments to return ill-gotten land to those displaced from it and protect both people and land from corporate predation.

COLOMBIA: Las Pavas community resists illegal palm planting

An oil palm grower that has operated on the contested land of Las Pavas for years is attempting to extend its plantation to areas legally designated for use by displaced farmers.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: To protect and serve

To protect and serve. That is the motto of the provincial police force Sureté du Quebec, and perhaps the majority of police departments world-wide. To protect and serve whom? The Algonquins of Barriere Lake continue to ask that question.

AL-KHALIL: Palestinians protest turnstile installation at military checkpoint

Sixty Palestinians protested the installation of a turnstile at an Israeli military checkpoint in Al-Khalil on 9 July. Children as young as six played a key role in the protest and faced soldiers' physical and verbal responses to the protesters' indignation.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: In a bow to settlers, Israel threatens a Palestinian village

Palestinians from the village of Susya demonstrated on 16 June against the announced demolition of their homes. After receiving pressure from settler-led Zionist nongovernmental organization Regavim, the Israeli military issued a demolition order for approximately fifty structures, including house tents, solar panels and animal pens, threatening the entire village.

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: River Run aims to heal poisoned communities

Fifty years after mercury dumping began to turn their lives upside-down, Grassy Narrows First Nation is seeking justice and healing for the people and land affected.

River Run, a week of public events and actions in support of Grassy Narrows, took place in Toronto 4-8 June. Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Aboriginal Justice Team helped to organize the event. 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Violence mars end of peaceful Naksa Day demonstration

CPT monitored a demonstration to “Open Shuhada Street” organized by the Hebron Defense Committee to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Al-Naksa Day, when Israel gained control of most of the West Bank on 5 June 1967.