International affairs, peace
and human security
HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:
The International affairs team’s work at the UNCHR is based on its ongoing work on human rights in the regions. In view of the requests coming from member churches and related organizations, the focus of this work is more on country-specific situations than on thematic concerns.
The WCC Commission of the Churches in International Affairs (CCIA) accredited 25 participants to the 2004 session. Regular meetings were held with them for sharing, exchange of information, and also to assist each other in lobbying and advocacy work.
The CCIA-accredited participants came from Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nigeria (Ogoniland), and mostly from partner agencies and churches in Europe.
CCIA helped organise parallel meetings on Indonesia with other international NGOs, partner agencies and churches; meetings of the Papua Solidarity Network and the recently formed Pakistan Solidarity Network of Pax Christi Netherlands were also held.
A two-person delegation from Colombia was present; one representative came beforehand to pave the way, and the second was present during the meetings for advocacy work. A delegation from Guatemala also attended, and events were organised with them. CCIA co-sponsored a meeting on the abolition of the death penalty for minors.
CCIA filed two written submissions, of which one, under agenda item 11(e) on civil and political rights including the question of religious intolerance, was based on the work done with partners on the issue and on reports received from church related organizations. The focus of the submission was on the situation of religious intolerance in Indonesia and Pakistan.
The second written submission related to agenda item (10) on socio-economic and cultural rights in Papua. There have been new developments in Papua: the government has divided the region into three sectors separated by military divisions. The National Dialogue for greater autonomy of the Papuan people has been suspended by the central government. The written submission is based on the information and reports received by CCIA from churches and civil society organizations in Papua.
In all, 26 delegates were accredited to the 2003 Commission, out of which the majority represented churches and partner agencies in Europe, but some represented churches and partners in Indonesia, Nigeria (Ogoni), Guatemala and Pakistan. Most representatives came for specific agenda items of interest to their organization.
The WCC Commission of the Churches in International Affairs (CCIA) filed two written submissions, under Agenda items 10 and 11 (e), E/CN.4/2003/NGO11 and E/CN.4./2003/NGO12, respectively.
The written submission under Agenda Item 10 related to economic, social and cultural rights, and was in respect of the situation in Papua. The submission was prepared in consultation with partners in Papua, including the Evangelical Church in Jayapura. The draft of the statement was submitted for comments and additions to partner churches in Germany and Netherlands who work closely with the Council on this issue.
The second written submission was in respect to Agenda Item 11 (e), civil and political rights, including questions of religious intolerance. This submission was in respect of the work the International affairs team has done in relation to human rights violations and persecution of religious minorities in Indonesia, Pakistan and India. The draft statement was shared with the churches in these countries, as well as with members of the Asia Task Force for comments and suggestions. The submission highlighted the situation of Christian minorities in Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Dalits in India.
In addition to the written submissions, CCIA, together with Dominicans for Justice and Peace, Franciscans International, Pax Christi International, Caritas Intenationalis, the Canadian Council of Churches, Sisters of Notre Dame de Mamur, International Presentation Association, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and Maryknoll Sisters Inc. made two oral interventions - under agenda items 11 and 13. The oral interventions focussed on blasphemy laws in Pakistan and on the situations of children in Iraq as a result of sanctions and the war.