Christian Peacemaker Teams - Turn your Faith into Action for Peace en AMS: Moria 6 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after fire in Moria camp <span>AMS: Moria 6 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after fire in Moria camp </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Sun, 06/13/2021 - 09:34</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="533" src="/sites/default/files/moria6%20%40Teskraa.jpeg" width="800" /></p> <h6>Photo: Tessa Kraan</h6> <p><b>Göttingen/Chios/Lesvos, 13.06.2021</b></p> <p><b>Yesterday, Saturday 12 June, four teenage asylum seekers were found guilty of ‘arson with risk to human life’ and sentenced to ten years imprisonment at Chios court after the fire in Lesvos’ Moria camp. Despite documents proving that three of the accused were minors at the time of arrest, they were tried as adults.</b> <b>Two of the six defendants had already been sentenced in March at the juvenile court in Lesvos. </b></p> <p>Over 70 European organisations and hundreds of individuals had made the call for a fair and transparent trial. Despite a lack of clear evidence of the four defendants’ involvement in the multiple fires, they were found guilty after a two-day trial.</p> <p>Yesterday’s verdict came as no surprise to international trial observers who criticised the lack of evidence and spoke of an unfair trial procedure. Only 15 people were allowed in the courtroom. The public, including journalists, a delegation of international observers, and a representative of the UNHCR, was prevented from observing proceedings. At least six police officers were in the room – a disproportionate number that was not necessary to secure the court. A strong crowd of people showed their support for the defendants in front of the court building.</p> <p>The six defendants were presented as guilty from the moment of their arrest. The Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, had already stated in an interview with CNN on 16 September 2020 that ‘The camp was set on fire by six Afghan refugees who were arrested.’</p> <p>None of the fifteen prosecution witnesses who testified in court had seen the defendants on the night of the alleged crime. Defence lawyer Natasha Dailiani stated: ‘The only witness who identified the accused did not present himself to the court. His written testimony was full of inconsistencies.’ Lawyers claimed that the witness had only given police six first names, common among the population of the camp, which was the basis for their arrest.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the three judges and four jurors unanimously ruled that the defendants were guilty of arson with endangerment to human life, and the aggravating circumstance of the destruction of private property.</p> <p>The four accused had already been in pre-trial detention for nine months before the trial. A request by their lawyers to have the case heard by the Juvenile Court was rejected. Witnesses for the defence spoke of outward harassment by the court.</p> <p>The two other defendants, officially recognised as minors, had already been sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the Lesvos juvenile court in March 2021 in what observers labeled an unfair trial.</p> <p>After the end of today's trial, Annina Mullis, trial observer on behalf of Democratic Lawyers Switzerland (DJS) and European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), summarised:</p> <p>“Based on the impressions gathered outside the court building and the detailed information provided by the lawyers, I agree with their assessment that the trial as a whole does not meet the standards of a fair trial.”</p> <p>Defence lawyer Effie Doussi states, “We will exhaust all legal remedies to ensure that the accused get a fair trial and a clear verdict showing that they are innocent.”</p> <p>Oda Becker, an activist and member of the Free the Moria 6 solidarity campaign, has followed both trials and is in ongoing contact with those affected along with their family and friends. Commenting on the trial she said, “We will continue to support the wrongfully convicted boys and their families in solidarity! The case of the Moria 6 is not the first time that migrants have been arbitrarily arrested and charged in Greece. This practice has long been part of the inhumane EU border regime. However, in the current political environment, the criminalisation of migration has reached a new level, as have the illegal pushbacks of migrants by the authorities.”</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1486" hreflang="en">Aegean Migrant Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> </div> </div> Sun, 13 Jun 2021 14:34:07 +0000 Hannah 12526 at Palestine: A Trip To The Old City <span>Palestine: A Trip To The Old City</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Sun, 06/13/2021 - 07:24</span> <div><p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/image2.jpg" width="600" /></p> <figure>&nbsp;</figure> <p><strong>By: Ahmad Abu Monshar</strong></p> <p>As part of the Ramadan traditions, many families, children, and youth go with their parents or grandparents to the old city of Hebron to hear the stories of how they used to live, memories of their childhood, and play there. Generally, they will go every week of Ramadan, and sometimes the children will hear the same stories, but they are willing to listen again because they like seeing their parents happy while remembering their lives in the old city.&nbsp;</p> <p>Locals say that years ago, most of the people used to live around the Ibrahimi Mosque. They didn't call it the dead city at that point, and they never imagined that it would be declared dead years later. Never in a thousand years would our ancestors agree to name it like that. Locals and merchants used this metaphor of the "dead city" because very few people come to the old city to visit or buy anything anymore.&nbsp; The old city used to be the heart of the city where people were born, worked and died between the walls of those houses. Every stone laid has a story, every bird has witnessed something, and every sound has a place there.&nbsp;</p> <p>Mohamed Mahmoud Al-Jabari took a CPT member on a trip to the old city to listen to what he tells his children and grandchildren about his life in the old city. “Life now differs from before, and everything becomes gray,” he said. “I left my house that I own and went to a place far from soldiers and the old city. I left, as many people like me have because we couldn't handle living there. The soldiers put many limitations on us like curfews, arrests, and unstable and secure lives. I was afraid for my children and my family, so I left.”</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/image1.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Ramadan encourages people to visit the old city with their children to bring life back to the streets. The crowds and the noise lighten the atmosphere, and people come to spend money, making purchases from locals to support them.</p> <p>During your visit to the old city you would enjoy the harmony of children's laughter, birdsongs, sellers voices encouraging people to buy something and the sounds of car engines—sounds make the old city beat with life. Not to mention, beautiful odours overlapping one another, evoking different flavours, making it impossible to determine if they’re coming from the shops or the houses.&nbsp;</p> <p>“This would be your home and your neighbourhood if the settlers and soldiers weren't here. We used to know everyone and which places belonged to who. All of us were one family taking care and looking out for each other,” Al-Jabari said.</p> <p>A grandfather walks up and down each street while he names each building, to whom it belongs, and remembering how many people lived there. It's a common practice for our elders when they come to the old city, as part of their tour they mention every building belonging to which family. While we walk, he stops for a while and points with his finger to a big building. “That is your grandfather's house. He lived in this building with his children, as did your father too," he remembered.&nbsp; He only had to ask me what my family name is, and he knew everything about my family history and where they used to live. I visited the house once when I was young, but then I forgot about it.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="400" src="/sites/default/files/2021-06/image3.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>I have always believed that I belong to this place without feeling a connection, but today it was different. Today I felt more connected since I know that my roots come from this place and this building. I thought about bringing my grandfather and asking the family if we could visit their house for a while. I would let my grandfather describe how they lived and ask him to bring some stories of this place.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>At the end of the trip, I asked Al-Jabari about his hope for the future. “All I want is to come back and live in the old city as I did in my childhood,” he said. We shook hands as is tradition to say goodbye. I walked alone into our office, thinking of what he said and wondering what the title of this article should be.</p> <p>I thought the most fitting title would be to call it a trip to the old city because even citizens of Hebron do not travel there regularly for the same reasons Al-Jabari has not. Hopefully, it will not be a trip in the future. We want it back!<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> </div> </div> Sun, 13 Jun 2021 12:24:01 +0000 Caldwell 12527 at No Return: The Civilian Impact of Turkey’s Operation Claw-Lightning <span>No Return: The Civilian Impact of Turkey’s Operation Claw-Lightning</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Mon, 06/07/2021 - 06:59</span> <div><p>7 June 2021</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="370" src="/sites/default/files/Map%2Bof%2BTurkish%2BOccupation%2Band%2BExpansion%2Bin%2BKRI%2B2021.jpeg" width="800" /></p> <p>On 3 June 2021, the Christian Peacemaker Teams' Iraqi Kurdistan program <a href="">published a report</a>&nbsp;documenting&nbsp;the impact of the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TAF) Operation Claw-Lightning on the civilian population living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI).&nbsp;</p> <p>Operation Claw-Lightning is a cross-border military operation that Turkey began on April 23, 2021.&nbsp;This is not the first of its kind as Turkey&nbsp;has conducted a similar strategy multiple times since December 2017&nbsp;and has&nbsp;advanced 6 to 35 km south of the border in some areas,&nbsp;expanding&nbsp;its territory by building bases&nbsp;and displacing&nbsp;civilians in the Kurdistan Region like Sidakan, Haftanin, and Zap.</p> <p>While Turkey has gained more control over Kurdistan Region territory, clashes between the Turkish military and the PKK have intensified in the region. Turkey has then conducted bombardments in the region targeting the PKK; though, as Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) reports, civilians are most critically impacted by Turkey’s bombings as many of the aerial and artillery strikes have directly targeted villages.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thousands of dunams of land and approximately 1,300 beehives have been destroyed, all of which are crucial resources for families. Turkey’s bombings not only threaten the livelihood of families, but also their lives. Four civilians have so far been injured by Turkey’s bombardments, and more than 1,500 civilians from 22 villages have evacuated their villages to escape Turkey’s assault. CPT fears that these families may never have the ability to return to their homes, as Turkey has built nearby military bases armed with artillery that now threaten the lives of civilians.&nbsp;</p> <p>Christian Peacemaker Teams calls on&nbsp;Turkey to cease&nbsp;Operation Claw-Lightning in the Kurdistan Region and allow&nbsp;for the unconditional return of all civilian population to their villages and farms. We also call on the Iraqi Government and Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure that the lives and rights of civilian populations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq are protected and that displaced and otherwise affected families are provided material support and compensation for their losses.</p> <p>The United Nations, the European Union, and other international organizations must launch an investigation into allegations of violations of the International Humanitarian Law by the Turkish Armed Forces in Iraq, specifically the principles of distinction and proportionality. All countries which provide military support to Turkey should halt their support for as long as Turkey continues to target and displace civilians.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Download the report</a></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1406" hreflang="en">Iraq</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1408" hreflang="en">Kurdistan</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 07 Jun 2021 11:59:30 +0000 Hannah 12524 at TISN: Announcement | Back to Wet’suwet’en <span>TISN: Announcement | Back to Wet’suwet’en</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/28/2021 - 10:10</span> <div><figure><img alt="Five person CPT and Mennonite Church Canada team pose for a portrait on their way to Unist’ot’en camp in Wet’suwet’en Territory" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/2021-05/210528_tisn-wetsuweten.jpeg" style="width:100%" /> <figcaption>Five person CPT and Mennonite Church Canada team pose for a portrait on their way to Unist’ot’en camp in Wet’suwet’en Territory</figcaption> </figure> <p><strong>May 28, 2021</strong></p> <p>CPT and Mennonite Church Canada have responded to an invitation to accompany Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en Territory. Today a group comprised of CPTers and members of MC Canada arrived at&nbsp;<a href="">Unist’ot’en</a>. While many communities and workplaces have been in a form of lockdown for over a year, the work of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline has not stopped. Settler colonialism and land theft continue. But so too does Indigenous resistance. Part of the resistance is the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre which nurtures connection to the land, cultural and spiritual wellness, and ensures Indigenous presence on sovereign territory. Five members of CPT and MC Canada will be joining the site for approximately one month. Updates from the field will be limited, but we look forward to sharing our journey with you upon our return.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 28 May 2021 15:10:07 +0000 Caldwell 12522 at Call for a fair and transparent trial for the accused Moria 6 based on the presumption of innocence <span>Call for a fair and transparent trial for the accused Moria 6 based on the presumption of innocence</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/26/2021 - 08:14</span> <div><p>26 May 2021</p> <h1><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="351" loading="lazy" sizes="(max-width: 609px) 100vw, 609px" src="" srcset=" 300w, 768w, 940w" width="609" /></h1> <h2>#FreeTheMoria6 – After the Fire in Moria Camp: Call for a fair and transparent trial for the accused Moria 6 based on the presumption of innocence!</h2> <p><strong>On 11 June 2021, the trial against four of the six teenage migrants accused of burning down Moria Camp will take place on the Greek island of Chios. From the moment of their arrest and before any due process of law, they have been presented to the public as the culprits.&nbsp;<a href="">Two co-accused minors were already convicted to prison sentences in March, despite a lack of evidence and a trial riddled with irregularities.</a></strong></p> <p><strong>We are deeply concerned that their right to a fair and just trial based on the presumption of innocence is not guaranteed and that they are instead made scapegoats for the inhumane EU migration policy.&nbsp;</strong><strong>We stand in solidarity with the Moria 6 &amp; against the deadly European border regime!</strong></p> <p>On 8 September 2020, the infamous refugee camp Moria on the Greek island of Lesvos burned down, fanned by a strong wind. The widespread and long-lasting fires, well-documented and almost live-broadcasted via social media, brought the ongoing policy of deterrence through inhumane conditions in Europe’s Hotspot Camps in the Aegean region back into the international media spotlight. (Footnote 1)</p> <p>Rather than seeing the fire as an inevitable disaster in a deadly camp infrastructure, the Greek state arrested six young Afghan migrants and presented them as the culprits and sole cause for the fire, attempting to stifle further public debate on the living conditions inside the camp and the political responsibility. The fires took place at a time when the number of people living in the camp had reached 12,000, movement restrictions had been in place for almost six months and a growing fear of Covid-19 was spreading inside the camp. One week prior to the fire, the first person had been tested positive. Instead of moving infected people out of the camp and improving the living conditions for the people trapped inside, the government planned to completely seal off the entire camp with a double high-security Nato-wired fence and cracked down violently on any protest. (Footnote 2)</p> <p>Not only do authorities deny any responsibility, there is also reason to assume that the accused cannot expect a fair and just trial. They were presented by authorities as guilty from the moment of their arrest.&nbsp;<a href="">The Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum stated – only one week after the fire – that “the camp was set on fire by six Afghan refugees who were arrested”</a>, violating their right to a fair trial under the presumption of innocence. Five of the Moria 6 were minors when they were arrested, but only two of them were recognised as such by the Greek state and consequently treated according to the Juvenile Criminal Code.</p> <p>Concerns have already come to pass when the two officially recognized as minors stood trial in March 2021. At that time, the two had already been held in pre-trial detention for almost six months, the legal maximum period for minors, and consequently should have been released soon. In a hastily convened court hearing that flouted basic procedural standards of fairness (footnote 3),&nbsp;<a href="">they were found guilty despite lack of evidence and sentenced to five years in prison.</a></p> <p>The case of the Moria 6 is not the first time that migrants have been arbitrarily arrested and charged in Greece (<a href="">see Moria 35</a>). This practice has long been part of the inhumane EU border regime. However, in the current political environment, the criminalisation of migration has reached a new level, as have the illegal pushbacks of migrants by the authorities.</p> <p><strong>We call for fair and transparent trial on 11th of June!</strong></p> <p><strong>We stand in solidarity with the Moria 6 &amp; against the deadly European border regime!</strong></p> <p><strong>We call on the EU and the Greek state to take responsibility for the inhuman camps they purposefully created and for the human suffering that is resulting thereof!</strong><br /> <strong>– Stop the containment of people at the margins of the EU!</strong><br /> <strong>– End the EU-Turkey Deal!</strong><br /> <strong>– No more Morias!</strong><br /> <strong>– Free the Moria 6!</strong></p> <p><strong>++ Sign the appeal, share the information, organise solidarity actions under the hashtag #FreeTheMoria6 ++</strong></p> <p><strong>All solidarity groups who want to sign, please sent an email by latest 5 June 2021 to freethemoria6<a href="" rel="nofollow"></a><br /> <br /> First published on&nbsp;<a href=""></a></strong></p> <p><em>Footnotes:</em></p> <p><em>(1) The fire had been preceded by many smaller ones throughout the years, e.g. caused by faulty wires or during cooking. They claimed the lives of two Kurdish migrants in November 2016, of Faride Tajik in September 2019, and of a 6-year-old girl in March 2020. No state agency, governing institution or camp management official has been held accountable for these fires resulting from overcrowding and a deadly camp infrastructure until this day.</em></p> <p><em>(2) From March to September 2020, while movement restrictions were imposed on the camp, there was continuous protest: against the lack of public health measures, hunger strikes against arbitrary detention, demonstrations following outbreaks of deadly violence. Police responded by blocking the camp’s communication with the outside world, threatening suspected organisers with arrest, sometimes using tear gas and smoke bombs. The response to the fire was no different. The Greek state declared a state of emergency, sent riot police units from Athens to Lesvos, and used tear gas against migrants who had lost all their belongings in the fire and were scattered in the street, camping on the roadsides. The police also failed to protect people when armed far-right groups harassed them.</em></p> <p><em>(3) For instance, the prosecution’s crown witness, who had caused the arrest of the accused through his testimony, did not appear and allegedly could not be located by the authorities. However, the prosecution was permitted to read out his written declaration, despite lawyers’ objection that this violated the defendants’ right to cross-examine any witness against them, a fundamental right confirmed by ECHR.</em></p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1413" hreflang="en">Migration</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 26 May 2021 13:14:01 +0000 Hannah 12521 at TISN: Treaty People Gathering <span>TISN: Treaty People Gathering</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/26/2021 - 04:35</span> <div><p>26 May 2021</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/treaty%20people%20gathering.jpeg" width="800" /></p> <p><strong>By Brenna Cussen</strong></p> <p>For the last seven years, Anishinaabe women and their allies have said “NO” to Enbridge Energy’s proposal to expand its destructive Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline. They work tirelessly to protect their homelands, their wild rice beds—sacred and necessary to them as a people—and their women, girls, and other relatives from human trafficking due to the pipeline. Enbridge is a Canadian company that hopes to send over 700,000 barrels of tar sands oil, one of the dirtiest fossil fuel forms, from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline will cross 22 waterways (including the Mississippi twice) and miles of precious wetlands to sell to foreign markets. As Winona LaDuke says, Indigenous leaders and their environmentalist allies have jumped through every legal hoop, attended every public hearing, dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” to stop this pipeline from furthering the colonial project of genocide on this continent.</p> <p>Despite these organized efforts, in November 2020, the Minnesota government issued the final permits for Enbridge to begin construction. Over the last six months, Indigenous Water Protectors and their non-Native allies have put their bodies in the way of construction. In that time, police have arrested over 250 people for direct actions of sitting in trees, locking themselves to bank entrances, and blocking man camps. The Water Protectors are standing up for Treaty rights, for water and the Earth, and for justice.</p> <p>Anishinaabe leadership of the movement to stop Line 3 has called for allies from around the continent to join them in Northern Minnesota from 5-8 June (and beyond) to participate in a large-scale, nonviolent uprising. Calling this the ‘<a href="">Treaty People Gathering</a>,’ organizers hope to propel this issue to the top of the nation’s consciousness and force Biden to act.&nbsp; While some legal cases are still pending in the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Biden administration could put a stop to the pipeline immediately by cancelling the permits it has issued.</p> <p>As the ‘Treaty People Gathering’ website says, “Treaty education and protection are not the sole duty of native people. We are all treaty people. Non-native people are living on stolen land and continue to benefit from treaties while not honouring them. It is the responsibility of non-native people to know and respect the obligations included in federal and state treaties. Treaties protect all of us.”</p> <p>The time is now to join the struggle! If you plan to head to Minnesota from 5-8 June, be sure to register at <a href=""></a> to learn about accommodations, schedules, trainings, and how to show up in a way respectful of those whose home it is.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1430" hreflang="en">United States</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 26 May 2021 09:35:21 +0000 Hannah 12520 at The journey that has changed me <span>The journey that has changed me</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/63" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Hannah</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/19/2021 - 08:48</span> <div><p>19 May 2021</p> <p><img alt="" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="571" src="/sites/default/files/alix.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><strong>by Alix Lozano</strong></p> <p>CPT's 35-year journey has taken the organization to different parts of the world. This anniversary occasion is a time to celebrate but also to reflect.</p> <p>The metaphor of the journey implies objectives, goals, and intentions, all depending on the place you want to arrive. It needs a road map, with a starting and a finishing point. It involves learnings, periodical evaluations, changes, taking new paths, and even thinking about new visions, missions, and values.</p> <p>The journey includes the invitation and inclusion of many travelling partners. You may start the voyage with some of them, and others may join along the way. Thirty-five years after CPT initiated this journey, some people are still travelling along, others have ended their journey as they continue their path in new ways, and others are now in a different dimension. Every participant on this journey has brought their hopes, dreams, energy, passions, values, spirituality, stakes, and desires. This adventure implies sacrifices for those who leave their family, country, or comfort zone and lose contact with their world. Some people have shown their frustrations, exhaustion, despair and have lost their sense of purpose. Some people adapt; others leave, following their own path and exploring new roads and experiences.</p> <p>This is a perfect opportunity for me, a Colombian woman and CPT reservist, to share the learnings and experiences that I have had at the internal and external level while working with the Colombia Team, the farming communities, and partner organizations CPT accompanies in Colombia’s Magdalena Medio region.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>Why did I take part in this journey?</i></p> <p><b>“What would happen if Christians were to dedicate their lives to non-violent peacebuilding with the same discipline and commitment that armies commit to war?”</b></p> <p>This statement and its meaning immediately connected me with CPT and its work in peacebuilding. Accompanying small farming communities and social organizations in their struggles for the land, life, and dignity from the standpoint of peaceful non-violence and spirituality has been challenging. I felt that my faith experience was missing an important piece that could provide meaning to my spiritual journey. Twenty-first century Anabaptists would call it "the third baptism."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>What did this mean for me?</i></p> <p>I was part of a team of men and women with lived experience in the field of peacebuilding activism, who became my travelling partners. This team was my closest community to encourage me on this journey. It was also the community that held me in moments of frustration, fear, worries, and internal crisis that I would experience during those difficult years. It was shocking and challenging to discover and learn first hand about the different "Colombias" that co-exist parallel to my urban Colombia, like that of the small farming Colombia. I needed to understand that to be a CPTer was not to "put on a cape," as some teammates would say, and go somewhere to "save" people using slogans, ideologies, and rhetoric. Instead, we learned that the key to the journey was a cultural encounter, an exchange of knowledge, and a space to humanize one another.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><i>What did I learn on this journey?</i></p> <p>The first delegation that I participated in visited the farming communities along the Opon River. One night, a delegation leader shared some “horror stories” about situations and experiences, nocturnal visits of animals or strange people. I was distressed all night, as were many of my delegation partners. This experience taught me that my ghosts—my internal monsters—were more frightening, dangerous, and unpredictable than my external fears.</p> <p>With the help of the team, community members and women’s organizations, I was able to identify the oppressions and symbolic violence that I had internalized and normalized, along with the perpetuation of hegemonic roles imposed by patriarchy, sexism, and fundamentalisms, particularly religious ones. I needed to identify these issues within me before I could unmask, confront, and transform them to then become an agent of change.</p> <p>These experiences gestated within me a process of decolonization (undoing the power structures) in my mind, in my faith experience, and in what my culture and the system had taught me, bringing the focus towards my own power and internal strength. I did not know that this journey would be long, costly, and would last my whole life. The self-sabotage that can occur during this journey is to believe that we can solve the problems and struggles of others through our committed activism—denying the existence and resolution of our own problems and clarifying that if I am well then everyone will be well, because we are interdependent as humans.</p> <p>While I was taking this outward journey, life was taking me on a simultaneous internal exploration to return to myself again, identifying my own violence and oppression, the subtle ways that they were present in my life and how they manifest themselves. To "come back home" inside me was not an easy nor quick path. German theologian Jurgen Moltmann argues that “the longest journey is always an internal exploration. The odyssey inside to find your home lasts a lifetime, and perhaps more.” This journey was not one of religious matters, dogmas or mandates. This had everything to do with recovering my own being and essence, which allowed me to understand that together we do not undo oppression and violence, instead we transform them, but the process starts with me.</p> <p>Finally, I learned that the key of the journey was not just a "third baptism," but many more, among them a journey that has taught me to transform "lamentation into joy."</p> <p>I take CPT's 35th anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate, to thank Life, and all the people who have accompanied me in this journey: farming families, our partner organizations, and my CPT teammates in Colombia and other parts of the world. Strength and peace because we have a long journey ahead of us!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1399" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1429" hreflang="en">Undoing Oppressions</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 19 May 2021 13:48:28 +0000 Hannah 12518 at Mennonite Churches in Manitoba Launch Letter-Writing Campaign in Solidarity with Water Protectors in Minnesota <span>Mennonite Churches in Manitoba Launch Letter-Writing Campaign in Solidarity with Water Protectors in Minnesota </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/14/2021 - 12:51</span> <div><p><iframe allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="338" scrolling="no" src=";width=600&amp;show_text=false&amp;appId=933338713789895&amp;height=338" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" width="600"></iframe></p> <p>Several Mennonite congregations in Manitoba are sending letters to TD Canada Trust, demanding that the Canadian bank stop financing the Line 3 pipeline. In Minnesota, Line 3 cuts through Anishinaabe land without the Free, Prior, and Informed consent of the Indigenous peoples who live there. Enbridge, the Canadian company, owns Line 3 and receives&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">billions of dollars in financing from several Canadian banks</a>. TD is the top funder and has provided Enbridge with $13.59 billion since 2016.&nbsp;</p> <p>Indigenous Water Protectors in Minnesota are fighting to protect their lands and waters from Line 3. If built, Line 3 would destroy the sacred wild rice beds that the Anishinaabe people depend on for their food, culture, and way of life. Additionally, Line 3 would contribute as much damage to the climate as 50 new coal-fired power plants. The pipeline would endanger more than 800 wetlands and 200 waterways.</p> <p>In Minnesota, Anishinaabe Water Protectors are&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">literally putting their bodies on the line</a>. They are building numerous resistance camps along the pipeline route and chaining themselves to construction equipment. Police have already arrested dozens of people. North of the colonial border, the Canadian segment of Line 3 has already been built.&nbsp;</p> <p>But in smalltown Gretna, Manitoba, an Enbridge pumping station is a reminder for all those fighting and resisting the construction down the pipe.</p> <p>Several Mennonite churches have started sending letters to the executive of TD, urging the bank to divest from Line 3. Some church-goers who currently bank at TD have warned they will transfer to a different bank. Others are taking part in actions outside TD branches, like the one organized by the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition on the&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Global Day of Justice on May 8</a>.</p> <p>To take part in the letter-writing campaign to TD Bank, use this&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">template</a>. If you live within Manitoba, you are encouraged to send your letter by “snail mail” to the address indicated. Otherwise, send a letter by email or hardcopy to a TD branch near you. If you have questions about the campaign, feel free to contact&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank"></a>.</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1484" hreflang="en">Turtle Island Solidarity Network</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 May 2021 17:51:08 +0000 Caldwell 12516 at Joint Statement Calling on Biden Administration to Condemn Israeli government plans to Forcibly Displace Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem <span>Joint Statement Calling on Biden Administration to Condemn Israeli government plans to Forcibly Displace Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Fri, 05/14/2021 - 12:28</span> <div><p><strong><a href="">Download the statement</a></strong></p> <p>The undersigned grassroots and advocacy organizations stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem currently at risk of losing their homes and call on the Biden administration to immediately and publicly condemn the Israeli government’s plans to forcibly displace 1,550 Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Bustan neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem and to exert the utmost diplomatic pressure to prevent these potential&nbsp;<a href="">war crimes</a>&nbsp;from taking place.</p> <p>The situation is particularly urgent in Sheikh Jarrah, where the Israeli government plans to forcibly displace hundreds of Palestinians from homes they have lived in for generations, in order to allow Israeli settlers to move in, an act which is illegal under international humanitarian law. On May 7, the United Nations urged the Israeli government to halt these plans, stating that the forced displacement&nbsp;<a href="">could amount to war crimes</a>. This takes place in the broader context of Israel's ongoing policy to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes through eviction, home demolition, and displacement, with the express intent of pushing Palestinians out of Jerusalem in order to create and&nbsp;<a href="">maintain a Jewish majority</a>&nbsp;and supremacy in the city.</p> <p>Furthermore, we are deeply disturbed by the violence and use of force that Israeli police in East Jerusalem are employing against Palestinian residents, protestors, and worshippers during the last ten days of Ramadan. Over the past week, residents and activists leading sit-ins, vigils, and protests against the forced displacement in Sheikh Jarrah have been met with overwhelming&nbsp;<a href="">violence</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="">force</a>&nbsp;from Israeli police and settlers, including a police officer&nbsp;<a href="">kneeling on a protestor's neck</a>&nbsp;while he shouts that he is being suffocated, and&nbsp;<a href="">attacking worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque</a>, Islam’s third holiest site. Protestors have also faced harassment from Israeli officials, including an incident in which the Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem&nbsp;<a href="">told a Palestinian activist it was "a pity" that he wasn't shot in the head</a>.</p> <p>Israeli state violence is, of course, not limited to Jerusalem. We are horrified by Israel’s use of disproportionate and deadly force against Palestinians in Gaza which have already resulted in the killings of dozens of Palestinians, including children. This comes within the context of Israel’s 14 year illegal blockade on Gaza which has created an open air prison with severe shortages of life-saving medicines, food, electricity, and clean water, making life unsafe and unbearable. We call on the Biden administration to condemn this violence and address its root causes: Israeli blockade and occupation.</p> <p>The Biden administration has repeatedly stated that it intends to center its foreign policy around respect for human rights and international law. We therefore call on the administration to uphold international law and act in accordance with the urgency of the moment to prevent the Israeli government’s forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians.</p> <p>We support the asks articulated in a&nbsp;<a href="">letter</a>&nbsp;led by Congresswoman Marie Newman (IL-03) and signed by 24 members of Congress calling on the Biden administration to:&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li> <p>Immediately send the strongest possible diplomatic message to Israel to desist from its plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Al-Bustan and evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah;</p> </li> <li> <p>Publicly reiterate that U.S. policy opposes Israel's demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and that East Jerusalem is Occupied Territory under international law;</p> </li> <li> <p>Undertake an expeditious review of previous Congressional requests that the State Department investigate whether Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes with U.S. weapons violates the Arms Export Control Act (AECA);</p> </li> <li> <p>If Israel proceeds with its plans to demolish Palestinian homes in Al-Bustan and evict Palestinian residents from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, then the U.S. Embassy to Israel should send observers to document Israel’s forced displacement of Palestinians, including details on the military units involved in these operations and the usage of any U.S. weapons for purposes of oversight and accountability regarding Leahy Law and AECA violations.</p> </li> </ol> <p>Sincerely,</p> <p><br /> About Face: Veterans Against the War<br /> Action Center on Race &amp; the Economy (ACRE)<br /> Adalah Justice Project<br /> Alianza Americas<br /> Alliance for Water Justice in Palestine<br /> American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)<br /> American Friends Service Committee<br /> Americans for Democracy &amp; Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) American Muslims for Palestine<br /> Arab American Association of NY<br /> Arab American Civic Council<br /> Arab Resource &amp; Organizing Center (AROC)<br /> Armenian-American Action Network<br /> Ayada Leads<br /> Borderlands for Equity<br /> Center for International Policy<br /> CHANGE (Center for Health and Gender Equity)<br /> Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy<br /> Christian Peacemaker Teams<br /> Churches for Middle East Peace<br /> CODEPINK<br /> Common Defense<br /> Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)<br /> Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington ChapterDemand Progress<br /> Democratic Socialists of America<br /> Detention Watch Network<br /> Disciples Palestine Israel Network (DPIN)<br /> Dissenters<br /> Dream Defenders<br /> Emgage Action<br /> Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) Eyewitness Palestine<br /> Fellowship of Reconciliation<br /> The Feminist Front<br /> For All<br /> Freedom Forward<br /> Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)<br /> Friends of Sabeel North America<br /> Grassroots Global Justice Alliance<br /> Grassroots International<br /> Historians for Peace and Democracy<br /> ICNA Council for Social Justice<br /> IfNotNow<br /> Indivisible Illinois<br /> International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)<br /> Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno<br /> Islamophobia Studies Center<br /> Jetpac Resource Center<br /> Jewish Voice for Peace Action<br /> Jews for Racial And Economic Justice (JFREJ)<br /> Just Foreign Policy<br /> Justice Democrats<br /> Justice for Muslims Collective<br /> MADRE<br /> Massachusetts Peace Action<br /> MediaJustice<br /> Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA)<br /> Migrant Roots Media<br /> MoveOn<br /> MPower Change<br /> National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) National Iranian American Council<br /> National Network for Immigrant &amp; Refugee Rights<br /> National Writers Union<br /> New Internationalism Project at Institute for Policy Studies Nonviolence InternationalOD Action<br /> Our Revolution<br /> Palestine Advocacy Project<br /> Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace<br /> Pax Christi USA<br /> Peace Action<br /><br /> Progressive Democrats of America<br /> Project Blueprint<br /> Project South<br /> Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice<br /> RAICES<br /> ReThinking Foreign Policy<br /> Revolutionary Love Project<br /> Revolving Door Project<br /> Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights<br /><br /> School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch)<br /> Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI)<br /> Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)<br /> Solidaire Action Fund<br /> South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)<br /> Sunrise Movement<br /> Tree of Life Educational Fund<br /> Tunisian United Network<br /> UltraViolet Action<br /> Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East<br /> United Church of Christ Palestine-Israel Network<br /> United for Peace and Justice<br /> The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society United We Dream<br /> US Campaign for Palestinian Rights<br /> U.S. Labor Against Racism and War<br /> Veterans For Peace<br /> Voice for Refuge Action Fund<br /> Voices for Justice in Palestine<br /> WESPAC Foundation, Inc.<br /> Win Without War<br /> Working Families Party<br /> World BEYOND War</p> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1415" hreflang="en">Palestine</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 14 May 2021 17:28:43 +0000 Caldwell 12515 at Lesvos: Refugee faces two life sentences after surviving shipwreck and trying to save 33 lives <span>Lesvos: Refugee faces two life sentences after surviving shipwreck and trying to save 33 lives</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/4" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Caldwell</span></span> <span>Wed, 05/12/2021 - 06:55</span> <div><p>May 12, 2021</p> <p><strong>This Thursday, 13th May 2021, 27-year-old Mohamad H., father of four children, has to stand trial in Mytilene, Lesvos. Mohamad H., who tried to save his own life and that of the 33 passengers on board during a shipwreck, is charged by Greek authorities with endangering the life of others and causing the death of two. For this, he is facing two life sentences and a further ten years imprisonment for each passenger.</strong></p> <p>On 2nd December 2020, Mohamad H., who had fled from war in Somalia to Turkey in early 2020, tried to reach Greece on a rubber boat together with 33 other people, including three children. In the middle of the Aegean sea, the boat got into distress.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">According to the Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi,&nbsp;</a>who blames the Turkish Coast Guard for the shipwreck, the group sent out a distress signal calling for help. Mohamad H., a refugee himself with no experience in seafaring, tried everything he could to prevent a shipwreck and steer the boat somehow safely ashore - this was later confirmed by the other passengers who stated that Mohamad H. tried to save everyone's life.</p> <p>Sadly, he did not succeed. The rubber boat capsized close to the island of Lesvos. Women, men, and children were thrown into the water; two young women did not survive.</p> <p>Mohamad H. and the other survivors were pulled out of the water by the Greek coast guard and brought to Mytilene port, Lesvos. There, after nearly drowning just moments before, Mohamad H. was arrested for "driving the boat" and consequently charged with the "illegal transportation of third-country nationals into Greek territory" (smuggling). Additionally, he was charged with endangering the life of 32 people under aggravating circumstances. Later on, after the missing women were found dead, he was also charged with causing the death of two. He has since been in prison awaiting trial on the island of Chios.</p> <p><strong>We condemn such blatant injustice and severe attacks on the right to asylum.&nbsp;</strong>With the lack of safe and legal pathways to enter Europe and claim asylum, people seeking safety have no other choice than to embark on perilous journeys.</p> <p><strong>We stand in solidarity with Mohamad H.</strong>, who is clearly being used as a scapegoat to divert attention from the responsibility that the E.U. and its ever-increasing closure of borders carry for these deaths.&nbsp;</p> <p>Instead of being threatened with life in prison, Mohamad H. should receive the care he needs after suffering such a traumatic experience.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Instead of being threatened with life in prison, Mohamad M. should be thanked and celebrated for trying to save the life of 33 people.</strong></p> <p>The lawyers Dimitris Choulis and Alexandros Georgoulis, who will represent Mohamad H. in his upcoming trial, state: "The Greek Law for migration is very strict - just touching the wheel is enough to be sentenced to many years in prison as a 'smuggler.' However, we have to remember that the Greek law in article 25 of the Penal Code contains the so-called 'emergency situation' as a reason not to convict a person breaking a law 'under distress and to prevent an unavoidable danger.' This argument has never been accepted by the Greek Courts so far but when the minister himself accuses the Turkish Coast Guard of causing the shipwreck, it becomes absolutely clear that&nbsp;<strong>the accused tried to prevent the death of more people and his 'driving' the boat wasn't a decision but a necessity</strong>.&nbsp;It's time to start applying all of the Greek Law and not only the parts of it that help to criminalize asylum seekers."</p> <p>The case of Mohamad H. is unfortunately not an isolated case but paradigmatic for yet another facet of Europe's policy of closing borders and deterrence.&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">As documented</a>&nbsp;by CPT - Aegean Migrant Solidarity, borderline-europe, and Deportation Monitoring Aegean, the filing of such charges against migrants arriving on the Greek islands have been systematically used by the Greek state for several years.</p> <p>The basis for this is Greek legislation that considers any person found to have driven a vehicle across Greek borders carrying people seeking protection as a smuggler. The arrests that follow these often-unfounded accusations of smuggling are arbitrary, and the trials flout basic standards of fairness. Police officers might accuse the person holding the tiller to steer the boat, or the one who communicated with the coast guard to call for help, or simply someone who speaks English, of being a smuggler. Without sufficient evidence, they are usually arrested upon arrival and kept in pre-trial detention for months. When their case finally comes to court, their trials average only<a href="" target="_blank">&nbsp;38 minutes in length, leading to an average sentence of 44 years and fines over 370.000 Euro</a>. Most recently, the young Syrian K.S. was sentenced to&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">52 years in prison and a fine of 242.000 Euros</a>.</p> <p>While "smuggling" accusations against European sea rescuers gain a lot of media attention, the everyday practice of incarcerating non-Europeans on the Greek islands goes almost unnoticed. However, they constitute the majority of those arrested and imprisoned on allegations of "smuggling" and "aiding illegal immigration."</p> <p><strong>The initiatives borderline-europe, CPT - Aegean Migrant Solidarity, and You Can't Evict Solidarity will follow the trial in solidarity. We call on Greece and the European Union to stop criminalizing people because they are seeking safety, end the arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants accused of smuggling, and for the acquittal and immediate release of the defendant.</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">--------------------------</p> <p dir="ltr">More info:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="">UNHCR Greece: UNHCR News Comment following shipwreck off Lesvos</a></p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="">Second body found after boat sank off Lesbos</a></p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr"><a data-saferedirecturl=";source=gmail&amp;ust=1620902881199000&amp;usg=AFQjCNELl1hsVVeqhCIfYSY2A7S-adpPVQ" href="" target="_blank">https://www.keeptalkinggreece.<wbr />com/2020/12/02/migration-<wbr />minister-migrants-lesvos/</a></p> </li> </ul> <div class="yj6qo">&nbsp;</div> <div class="adL">&nbsp;</div> </div> <div> <div>Categories</div> <div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1486" hreflang="en">Aegean Migrant Solidarity</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1402" hreflang="en">Europe</a></div> <div><a href="/taxonomy/term/1445" hreflang="en">Lesvos</a></div> </div> </div> Wed, 12 May 2021 11:55:17 +0000 Caldwell 12512 at