July 1-7, 2011
Coming from different parts of Asia-Pacific, representatives from each sub-region of the WSCF AP came together for the first time in-person to form the Human Rights, Justice and Peace (HRJP) Committee of the WSCF AP from July 1-7, 2011 in the Philippines. The HRJP committee was an offshoot of the recommendations of the former working group on Human Rights since 2006 and was formally formed as HRJP Committee in the RCM 2008 in the AP by-laws.
Attended and composed by Neill Ballantyne (Aotearoa/NZ), Leni Valeriano (HRJP Com. Coordinator), A.V. Caleb (India), Nano Yeung (Hongkong), Sunita Suna (Regional Women’s Coordinator), Dayan Asuelo (Philippines) and Necta Montes (Regional Secretary), the HRJP Committee reflected, discussed the mandate, its objectives, reading of the signs of times and the admonition to us as ecumenical Christians for the imperative to be involved in human rights, justice and peace-building. The HRJP Committee also took part in the International Festival of Peoples Rights and Struggles held in Manila and maximized the venues for networking and developing deeper analyses on migration and migrants rights, struggles of the youth, US military bases, women’s rights movement etc.
We shared the different efforts of the SCMs in the human rights program and also able to grasp the need to encourage to sustain and improve these efforts in the regional, national and local levels of our movement. In the regional level we have sustained the HR Program and thematic workshop since 2006 and initiated campaigns in the last years on human rights in Burma, the Freedom of Morong 43 health workers in Philippines and against extra-judicial killings, and on communal violence. In the national movements, efforts in advocacy and campaigning also vary in terms of capacity of the movement and the priority issues focused on.
Campaigning is also one facet of advocacy among SCMs which still needs improvement and sustainability. There are cases in local and regional levels that the campaign we joined had reached some concrete results for raising consciousness and for achieving justice like the freedom of the Morong 43, freedom of Dr. Binayak Sen in India, support for the rehabilitation in Burma after cyclone Nargis and others.
We recognized that these are not a top-down effort but a collaboration of the different levels and resources of our federation. In the global level, we have the Global Advocacy and Solidarity Committee (GASC) which helps coordinate; we can share our efforts with GASC and the different SCMs, and maximize the federation’s global reach for solidarity, advocacy and justice-building.
The regional context we live in propels us to live out our faith in accordance to the dream for an inclusive and just society. While already rampant in Asia-Pacific, issues like mining and foreign plunder of TNCs, developmental aggression, and corruption are increasingly becoming a wide concern for our communities and SCMs. Some of the issues that persist in our region needing our continuing analyses, reflection and advocacy, and which SCMs are addressing in a way or another are: Human rights, economic rights, migration, ecological justice, education, peace building, communal violence and globalization among others.
Also among the major plans developed based from the last RCM mandate and directions, the HRJP Com. meeting came up with (final HRJP Com meeting minutes will also be available later for reference):
Along the line of further improving the Water Justice Campaign and complementing efforts in the global task force, we affirmed the main objectives as to raise awareness on the Water as a Right and connect to related issues like water privatization, rising sea-levels, pollution and damaging effects to communities by big dams and other “development” infrastructure. We have also outlined these Plans of Actions:
As a fresh team, we offer our commitment to assist also the region and national movements to develop ideas to strengthen our local and national capacity for advocacy and solidarity.