Iraq

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 May, 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 May, 2017

This week we would like to share a good news and express our gratitude for the nomination of CPT for the Nobel Peace Prize. The American Friends Service Committee has announced their official nominee for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize and it is Christian Peacemaker Teams!  

This is a great honor for the organization. At the same time, we acknowledge that we are but partners to those who truly transform the world. We wait for the time when our presence in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, Canada, U.S.A. and Greece will not be needed anymore. We would prefer that both Peace and Justice have already prevailed in each corner of this world.

Kak Bapir from the village of Basta tells the story of the struggle against indiscriminate Turkish bombardments

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 10 May 2017

On the first day of May most countries commemorate the International Worker's Day or the Labor Day. Millions of people take to the streets and march for their rights. They demand better and just conditions to carry out their jobs. 

When we sit at the table, when we get dressed, when we go to bed, when we go to our places of study, work or worship, when we buy food, when we feel sick and need a doctor, even when we make banners for a protest... Many people have worked hard to make these activities possible. And how many of them have been exploited, abused or forced by people or circumstances to do it?

Let us pray for each and every worker on this planet. Let us pray for respectful and just conditions for all to carry out their work activities. Let us pray, and work for change, for a fair wage and for the end of all forms of slavery. Let us pray for all mothers to be able to receive adequate maternity leave. Let us pray for all children so that they can enjoy their childhood instead of exploitative work. Let us pray for both women and men so they can receive equal salary for same work and thus overcome the economic gap.

Psalm 128:2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance

Misael Payares, a leader of the farming community of Las Pavas' nonviolent resistance. Photo credit: CPT Colombia.

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 April 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 19 April 2017

In the last three months the government of the United States of America bombed Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. Tensions in the Middle East, Russia, North Korea and around the world escalate rapidly. The numbers of killed civilians grow everyday. We need to do something! 

Last weekend, the Christian community celebrated Easter: Jesus has risen defeating death. Following the example of Jesus, let us arise and take action for peace and to stop death. Let us support or take part in peacemaking initiatives and organizations. Let us advocate for all who seek refuge from bombs. Let us pray for all who suffer in the wars in Syria and other countries. Let us pray for each one of us and that our creativity and strength would persist.

bombing hurts please stop

Galatians 6: 7-9

A person harvests whatever he plants: The person who sows through human means will harvest decay from human means, but the person who sows in the Spirit will harvest eternal life from the Spirit. Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest—if we do not give up.

Prayers for peacemakers. 29 March, 2017

Prayers for peacemakers. 29 March, 2017 

Water is life. Water is revitalizing energy. Water is a right. Every year on March 22, millions of people celebrate the World Water Day and raise awareness about the waste of water, the importance of preventing deforestation, protection of the paramos (unique ecosystems that produce high amounts of water), the need to control production of carbon dioxide, and other fundamental issues.

However, many people with specific interests prefer to make profits from extraction of oil, gold, coal and minerals, which destroys and endangers water sources in different parts of the world.

Today we invite you to pray for the guardians of water who despite the difficulties continue their struggle.

Hand of Leader of the Guardians of Water.

Hand of José Domingo, Campesino and guardian of water in Cajamarca, Colombia. This photo was taken on  March 25th, the day before the referendum. The mountain in the back, La Colosa, is the place where Anglo Gold Ashanti wanted to extract gold. Photo Credit: Hanna Thiesing.

Prayers for Peacemakers 23 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 23 March 2017

This week in Prayers for Peacemakers we lift up a prayer of great thanksgiving for a successful Sabeel conference two weeks ago, and Steering Committee meetings, last week. Paraphrasing Psalm 133:1, "How good and pleasant it is when teammates sit together in unity!" Sabeel, an ecumenical center for liberation theology in Jerusalem, is a partner of Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine. Together in unity, we affirm the prophetic call of the Gospel to renounce violence and dominative power. 

We also give thanks that Steering Committee meetings took place in Hebron so that board members who could travel here had the chance to meet teammates and participate in the work of the Palestine team on-the-ground. With the context in mind they deliberated over matters in order to build an organizational culture of justice, inclusion, mutual respect and welcome (CPT Faith Identity statement). We thank God for this good and pleasant opportunity to be together, even in the intensity of the context of Israeli military occupation.

CPT Reservist, Administrative Staff, and Steering Committee members

CPT Reservists, Administrative staff, and Steering Committee members from 5 countries joined the Sabeel conference, and the work of the team on the ground in Hebron/Al-Khalil.

IRAQI KURDISTAN NEWSLETTER: January & February 2017-- Accompaniment and more!

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January & February 2017
 
 

Iraqi Kurdistan

 
Accompaniment 
Awat Hassan talking to CPTers at his home. Photo by: Gabe 
CPT started around the clock accompaniment for Awat Hassan
Teachers' demonstrations in the city of Sulaimani continued in January 2017 as people demanded that their full salaries be paid and for a stop to corruption in the public sector. During those protests many of the organizers and human rights defenders were arrested and harshly treated by the security forces. Awat Hassan was one of the main faces of the protests and was severely beaten, detained, and his car was burned. His wife, brother, and eleven year old daughter were also detained. In addition, his younger children were traumatized after seeing those incidents. He invited CPT to accompany him and his family during the demonstrations.

Towards the end of January, the government forced the teachers to end the demonstrations but the threats towards the organizers continued. Due to this, CPT recieved a request by Awat Hassan for around the clock CPT accompaniment for him and his family that lasted over a month. CPT also ran an international campaign to ask the government to provide security for Awat Hassan and his family.  

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 15 March 2017

Last week the world commemorated the International Women's Day. Also we would like to acknowledge the power and leading role of women in struggle for justice and peace all around the world.

Let us pray for all women members of the CPT projects, for all the women in the Administrative team and all our women partners around the world. Each and every one of them does amazing things in order to build a better world. Let us pray for all girls around the world. Let us pray for a better future for them.

Girls plain in the river. Colombia

Let us pray for men as well, because they need to overcome sexism and work as allies of women in their struggles. Let us pray and work together for a better world where all women, men and every individual have the same opportunities, same access to justice, education and social securities, and freedom to live in peace and for peace. 

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers 1 March 2017

Created, Guided, and Delivered for Liberation: A Prayer for Times Like These. 

by Chris Knestrick 

Creator God, 

 You created us for right and just relationships.

 You have called your people back to your embrace

                  To that garden of equality and mutuality

                   To healthy relationships based on respect and love

                   To be laborers that harvest life. 

Creator God, You created us.  

Children painting 

IRAQI KURDISTAN URGENT ACTION: Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan!

IRAQI KURDISTAN URGENT ACTION: Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan

February 3, 2017

Stand With Civil Society in Iraqi Kurdistan
 
Everyone is born with inherent rights. Protecting and promoting Universal Human Rights is essential to building and maintaining peace around the world. The newly autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan is currently unsafe for many activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and members of civil society. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is charged with the safety of all its inhabitants  and the responsibility of safeguarding Universal Human Rights within its borders.  We wish to lift the veil of secrecy around recent killings, beatings  and ongoing attacks on journalists, activists, and members of civil society as well as highlight the seemingly systematic campaign of harassment against those exercising free speech in Iraqi Kurdistan.  We also call upon the Kurdistan Regional Government to actively protect those threatened and pursue parties wishing to harm people exercising their inherent rights within in the region.
The Kurdish Region of Iraq has enjoyed freedom and self-rule governance since the United States invasion of Iraq despite the immense toll the invasion took on people in other areas. However, the Kurdish region is also facing the worst financial crisis in its history. In 2014 the budget was cut by the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Regional Government told its employees that they were unable to pay their salaries. This decision lead to many protests by the governmental workers, especially teachers, demanding that their full salaries be paid and calling for an end to corruption in the public sector. Organizers and teachers peacefully protested for 110 days but beginning in December 2016, the security forces in Sulaimani started using violent means to try to break the teacher’s strike. Many activists and human rights defenders were arrested, beaten, threatened, or had  their property damaged or burnt. Finally, in mid January, 2017, the teachers ended their strike under immense pressure from the security forces. They were assured by the Prime Minister and his deputy no changes would come from the demonstrations. Since the protests ended, the organizers, civil society activists and journalists have faced threats and direct violence. Their families have been terrorized and social media is being used to humiliate them. Along with threats to activists, journalists and religious leaders have also been killed in the region. The government is responsible for its citizens’ security and should respect human rights by creating a space where civil society can act freely to foster and develop a democratic culture in the region without threats, violence and loss of life. 

Prayers for Peacemakers. 1 February 2017

Prayers for Peacemakers. 1 February 2017

In these dark times when hatred and racism are on the rise around the world, we invite you to build bridges to bring us closer to each other and to overthrow the walls that divide us by our faith, our race, our gender, and our migration status.

Let us pray that each of us can overcome the walls that separate us. Let us embrace our sisters and brothers of Muslim, Yezidi and other diverse identities, faiths and origin. Let us welcome all those who have had to leave their homes due to war. Let us pray for the hearts and minds of those who insist on dividing us to open wide.

Muslim and jew families

Photo Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo/ Chicago Tribune