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October 3rd, 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 October 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 4 October 2017

Pray for strength for the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (Canada) and their allies in the struggle for true reconciliation and implementation of the UNDRIP. 

Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary as a modern country this summer, a country in the forefront of human rights according to the outside world. Yet, in Canada one of the biggest genocides in the history has taken place and it’s survivors live the outcome of it every day, suffering alone and in silence. Today the indigenous nations of Turtle Island live in poverty inside the borders of one of the richest countries in the world. The consecutive governments of what’s called Canada have let down the indigenous nations and did not uphold their part of the treaties they signed 150 years ago. As a result, the indigenous nations' land has shrunk to 0.2%. The indigenous communities have the highest rates of unemployment and incarceration in the country, staggering numbers of missing and murdered women and girls and a very poor access to health care and child welfare support.

However, this year marks also the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a declaration which if adopted and implemented would become the doorway towards restoration of the indigenous nations sovereignty over their land and alleviation of systemic human rights abuses and oppression the first nations of this land suffer from silently. Peacemakers in Canada are striving to pressure the "liberal" Canadian parliament and government to fully adopt and implement UNDRIP and start a real reconciliation that would include more than an "apology."

CPTers and delegates meet Grassy Narrows community members
CPTers, delegates and allies meet with a long-time CPT partner Judi Da Silva and her husband Bepgogoti in Grassy Narrows.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos September 23 -October 2

 

School Delayed

 
Pictured here: Children wait at Qitoun checkpoint while one child at a time is let through the turnstile by the Israeli Border Police who check their school bags. Bag checks of school children are occurring more frequently, delaying many children and making them over an hour late for school. Teachers and adults were also delayed on their way to work. 

(27/09/2017)

September 30th

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Reflections on the Fast for Indigenous Rights

CPTnet
30 September 2017
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES SOLIDARITY: Reflections on the Fast for Indigenous Rights

by Chuck Wright

I’m not a religious guy, but last week I participated in a day of fasting for Indigenous rights. Although it was only a day, it is in the lead up to 2nd reading of Cree MP Romeo Saganash’s Bill C262 and in solidarity with those who are fasting for a just relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. It’s at a time when Canada has a real opportunity to change course through Bill C262 – an Act to ensure the laws of Canada is in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

I used this time to reflect about the purpose of fasting. Specifically, I think of Steve Fobister Sr. from Grassy Narrows who – in July 2014 – went on a hunger strike to call for justice for mercury survivors. I think of former Chief Theresa Spence who – in December 2012 during the birth of the Idle No More movement - endured a several day hunger fast to demand nation-to-nation meetings about the socio-economic crises affecting Attawapiskat and so many other Indigenous communities across the country.

My friend Steve Heinrichs – Mennonite Church Canada director of settler-Indigenous relations and CPT Steering Committee member – initiated a 46-day rolling Fast for Indigenous Rights and is inviting others to sign up for a day or more in our shared hunger for justice. He states: “The fast is born out of a couple places – a need to show the depth of our seriousness for Bill C262. Government of Canada has offered a lot of good words, but needs more action on the ground. It is also born out of a deep place of spirituality, where I’m asking a force greater than us to help move the hearts and minds of our political leaders alongside the grassroots demanding real change in Canada’s relationship to Indigenous peoples.”

 

Silent action with banners: We support Bill C-262
Constituents of Winnipeg Centre and supporters of Indigenous Rights call on the Liberal government to do less talk and more walk for reconciliation by supporting Bill C262.


September 28th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) A week in photos September 20 - 26

 

"Occupation No More."

 
Pictured here: Dozens of Palestinians living in the neighbourhood of Ghaith close to Mafia Checkpoint gathered together to demonstrate against the actions of Israeli settlers, who placed Israeli flags on top of the Ibrahimi Mosque. Palestinian adults and children sang songs and chanted, "Occupation no more!" The demonstration caught the Israeli Border Police guarding Mafia Checkpoint off guard. Within minutes, the Israeli Border Police near the demonstration called for reinforcements. A large group of Israeli Border Police came to quell the protest, as well as an Israeli settler. The Border Police forced the press and international activists to get behind a police barrier to prevent documentation of the demonstration. The Border Police eventually went inside the neighbourhood, which is surrounded by a lockable gate that was erected in June 2017, and locked all the families inside, making it impossible for Palestinians to leave their neighbourhood. 

(20/09/2017)

September 26th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 27 September 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 27 September 2017

Prayer for an end of the neighboring countries' hostilities following Kurdistan's referendum on independence and for increased solidarity with the oppressed peoples' struggles around the world.

"Iraqi government is threatening, Turkish government is threatening, Iranian government is threatening and the entire international community is threatening. What is it? I have never had so much problems with my identity, who I am and where I come from. I did not vote for the referendum because I believe that these Kurdish leaders (...) have done nothing regarding human rights, women rights, LGBTQ rights and minority rights. They have not been able to create a democratic system that we all have wanted and lastly I do not believe in nation states." These are the words and a perspective of someone close to CPT on presumably the biggest event of this week: the Kurdistan's referendum on independence from Iraq.

The sharing continues: "Of course that is not the case at the moment, is it? A group of people have decided to hold a referendum after going though hundreds of years of oppression. And guess what: the whole world is threatening and the three neighboring countries such as Iran, Iraq and Turkey have warned that they would invade and put sanctions on the region. I really do not understand why everyone is against it? If really they all believe in human rights and democracy then why do they threaten? Why do they bomb? Why do they kill? Only in the past 6 days both Turkey and Iran have been bombing farmers in the mountains. 7 people dead and 4 wounded. Houses destroyed and farms burnt. And already fights and curfews in some small towns around Kirkuk because of the referendum. Why is that? Why has it become so easy to start wars and to kill people?"

House impacted by Iranian bombing, smoke rising, a man on the phone
On the day of the referendum Iranian military bombarded fiercely Kurdistan's border communities including CPT partners

September 25th

IRAQI KURDISTAN: Family impacts of the Iranian cross-border bombardments

CPTnet
25 September 2017
IRAQI KURDISTAN: Family impacts of the Iranian cross-border bombardments

by Julie Brown

Khatun Ali lives in Shora, a small village in the Choman district of Iraqi Kurdistan. She is the head of a household in an area that Iranian military regularly targets in a cross-border war between the Iranian state forces and the KDP-I or Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran. Khatun is a widow with three other people living in her home, a daughter-in-law, two small children and herself. One of her sons is a Peshmerga who is often away.

Woman in Kurdistan

Khatun Ali talking to CPTers at her home in Shora. Photo by: Julie Brown


“When my husband was alive, I lived like a princess honestly. I didn’t have a lot of responsibility. Now I have to look after a lot of trees, our herds and the children,” Khatun said as she pointed to the sheep grazing on the hill just behind her home. She told members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) of how her home and crops were burned three separate times during the time of Saddam Hussein but she and her family managed to rebuild. “We were poor then but we had a good life. Things in the region have improved but here there are no salaries, food, or kerosene and now we are scared.”

September 21st

Prayers for Peacemakers, 21 September 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 21 September 2017

Sometimes we may think that people disappear only during wars or under oppressive regimes: more than 30,000 people during the dictatorship in Argentina, or 3,500 in Chile, among others. However, forced disappearances are a reality and a political strategy also under the so called "democratic governments." More than 4,000 missing indigenous women in Canada, 10,000 missing refugee children in European union, more than 60,000 disappeared in Colombia from the hands of various armed and state actors often receiving support from the United States of America.

Today we would like to pray for justice and peace for the families and communities of the forcefully disappeared people. We would like to pray that they may find the truth of what happened to their loved ones. We also want to pray for freedom for those still alive and held for their political views, noncompliance or engagement in a struggle for rights and freedom of the oppressed. Today we carry in our thoughts and prayers Santiago Maldonado who the Argentine National Guard abducted in their violent attack on Mapuche indigenous community. We ask for his release.

A man looks for recognizable faces on a banner with photographs and details of dissapeared persons.
A man looks for recognizable faces on a banner with photographs and details of dissapeared persons. Photo: Caldwell Manners

September 19th

COLOMBIA REFLECTION. Disappearances in democracy: supporting Santiago Maldonado from Colombia.

CPTnet

19 September 2017

COLOMBIA REFLECTION. Disappearances in democracy: supporting Santiago Maldonado from Colombia.

By Marcos Knoblauch

Many people are missing here. And we lack many stories and truths. Throughout the world on the 30th of August, hundreds of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances are remembered. On this date the demand for justice and, above all, the search for truth is kept alive.

More than a month ago Santiago Maldonado was last seen during a repressive police operation against demonstrators in a town in the southwest of Argentina. An indigenous Mapuche community has for many years maintained a process of defense and reclamation of their ancestral territory of the community, a process to which Santiago had joined in solidarity. The forced disappearance of Santiago Maldonado has generated strong demands from local and international human rights organizations. On September 1, some 200,000 people marched to the emblematic Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires demanding from the State the appearance of the young man alive. According to an Amnesty International statement, "during the morning of August 1, 2017, about 100 members of the Argentine National Guard (GNA), a security force of a military nature, entered irregularly and violently into the territory of the  Mapuche Pu Lof in Resistencia community [...] According to the community, the GNA fired lead and rubber bullets and burned objects belonging to the families. "Santiago Maldonado was last seen there and some witnesses indicate that they saw the GNA hitting a bound man and throw him into a vehicle.

Protest in Buenos Aires 

Peaple gather at the historic PLaza de Mayo in Buenas Aires protesting the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado. Foto: Flikr – luzencor

September 18th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine August 2017 Newsletter- Why do you keep going back?, Restricted Movement and More...

 
 
Why do you keep going back?

At the end of August, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman announced that the Israeli Military will be issuing an order that gives official status to the Hebron municipal committee, which represents settlers occupying Palestinian land in the city of Hebron. This action not only violates the Oslo Accords and the 1997 Hebron Protocol, but also international law and means further colonization of H2. Read More

Restricted Movement

CPT team was recently invited to attend a meeting in Ramallah. As a team, we took a Palestinian service taxi, an orange van which holds seven passengers, to Ramallah from Hebron. On our way to Ramallah, Palestinians in the taxi put their seatbelts on before we left the Palestinian streets of Hebron, as it is law for Palestinians to wear a seatbelt on an Israeli road. Just as the taxi was going to pass an Israeli checkpoint, an Israeli police officer pulled the taxi aside. Four of the passengers in the taxi, including a CPTer, were not wearing a seatbelt when the taxi was pulled over. Once the taxi was parked by the checkpoint, the Israeli police officer opened the van door, asked for everyone’s IDs and inspected to see who was wearing a seatbelt. The police officer seized almost everyone’s ID except for my passport and my fellow CPTer’s passport. Read more...

 

Behind the Barricade

A new brigade, the Givati, have recently come to the Old City of Hebron to carry out Israel’s military occupation of Palestine. Last Wednesday, the Givati’s military presence was asserted when they arrested three Palestinian boys, ages thirteen to fourteen. As a matter of reference, Israeli soldiers are able to imprison Palestinian boys as adults once they reach the age of twelve years old, whereas Israelis cannot be imprisoned as adults until they are eighteen years old. Shortly after the aforementioned arrests, the Israeli soldiers established a human barricade, spanning more than three hundred yards, preventing Palestinians from walking and driving through the main streets of the Old City. Palestinian storekeepers were forced to close shops and soldiers conducted multiple ID checks. This detainment lasted for a couple of hours until soldiers went back to their military base, satisfied with the work they accomplished. Read more...

September 13th

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 September 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers, 13 September 2017

Today we are witnessing the horrors of yet another genocide, that of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Reports talk about the indiscriminate killings, mass rapes, of homes and villages destroyed and deliberately set on fire. Especially revolting are horror stories of children slaughtered with knives. Abuses are rampant in the form of torture and other punishments.

"The brutality is unthinkable. They're killing children. They're killing women. They're killing the elderly. They're killing able-bodied men and boys," a human rights activist reports, "It is indiscriminate.”

We urge all peace loving people to come together and pray for Peace in this region of our world today.

 Banner #pray for Rohingya
Photo from Reuters