Category Archives: Events

Dr Eban Kirksey on West Papua

Freedom in Entangled Worlds: West Papua and the Architecture of Global PoweDr Eben Kirksey is a US academic and long-time advocate for human rights and justice in West Papua.

He will speak in Brisbane in October about West Papua and his new book on the situation in this troubled region of Indonesia. His major Brisbane talk will be held on Wednesday 17 October, 5.30 p.m. for 6 p.m. at the College Hall, St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill. Entry is free, but donations to support human rights work in West Papua will be gratefully accepted. Copies of Dr Kirksey’s book, Freedom in Entangled Worlds, will also be on sale. Coffee and tea will be available on arrival.

Other talks will be held at Cafe IRA, Tugun, on Thursday 18 October, 4 – 6 pm and at the University of Southern Queensland Toowoomba on Friday 19 October at 12.30 pm.

Download Eban Kirksey Brisbane Flyer (pdf)  here

Download Edan KirkseyTugan Flyer I(pdf) here

Download Eban Kirksey UQ Event Flyer (pdf) here

Download Eban Kirksey Toowoomba Event Flyer (doc) here

Eben Kirksey first went to West Papua, the Indonesian-controlled half of New Guinea, as an exchange student in 1998. His later study of West Papua’s resistance to the Indonesian occupiers and the forces of globalization morphed as he discovered that collaboration, rather than resistance, was the primary strategy of this dynamic social movement. Accompanying indigenous activists to Washington, London, and the offices of the oil giant BP, Kirksey saw the revolutionaries’ knack for getting inside institutions of power and building coalitions with unlikely allies, including many Indonesians. He discovered that the West Papuans’ pragmatic activism was based on visions of dramatic transformations on coming horizons, of a future in which they would give away their natural resources in grand humanitarian gestures, rather than watch their homeland be drained of timber, gold, copper, and natural gas. During a lengthy, brutal occupation, West Papuans have harbored a messianic spirit and channeled it in surprising directions. Kirksey studied West Papua’s movement for freedom while a broad-based popular uprising gained traction from 1998 until 2008. Blending ethnographic research with indigenous parables, historical accounts, and narratives of his own experiences, he argues that seeking freedom in entangled worlds requires negotiating complex interdependencies.

Freedom in Entangled Worlds from Eben Kirksey on Vimeo.

Respect and Understanding Needed on Tent Embassy


Thursday 28 June 2012

Aboriginal Tent Embassy Brisbane

Aboriginal Tent Embassy Brisbane

The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane, along with its Aboriginal partners and advisors, welcomes the recent dropping of police charges against a number of people who came to support local Aboriginal people and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in May.

 It is our hope that charges against others arrested by police will also be dropped.

We do not want to see the ugly confrontation between police, the Brisbane City Council, Aboriginal people and their supporters, which occurred on 16 May at Musgrave Park, repeated.

The sight of over 200 police officers surrounding Aboriginal people at the Tent Embassy at Musgrave Park was a sorry reminder to Aboriginal people of the troubled and difficult relations they have experienced with the police in this State over many years.

The indignity of being evicted by force by police at the request of Council authorities from land with which they have a long and deep connection was also a sorry reminder of their dispossession and all its negative consequences.

We welcome the conciliatory and respectful approaches and dialogue which have taken place between the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Brisbane City Council officers and elders and representatives of the local Aboriginal communities since the confrontation.  It is hoped that this constructive approach will achieve positive outcomes for both the first peoples of this land and for the municipal authorities.

We implore both the State Government and the Queensland Police to follow the Council’s lead so that respectful and productive relationships can be established and cooperative partnerships can be formed to address the problems that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face across Queensland.

As we approachAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday on 1 July and NAIDOC Week (July 1 – 8), we acknowledge efforts by Church agencies, parishes and schools to develop relationships with local Aboriginal people.  We encourage them to maintain and increase such efforts.

In particular, we encourage Catholics and people in the wider community to learn more about the history of Aboriginal peoples’ connection with Musgrave Park in South Brisbane and with other significant sites around south-east Queensland.

We also urge Catholics to learn more about the significance of the first Aboriginal Tent Embassy which was established in Canberra forty years ago and to walk with them on their on-going struggle for justice.

Finally, we wish to acknowledge the significant contribution of Aboriginal church workers and Aboriginal Christians who have worked tirelessly to support their sisters and brothers in the Tent Embassy in Musgrave Park since its establishment and for their long standing efforts to ensure that their people are afforded dignity in many difficult situations over many years.  These humble and faithful people are extraordinary witnesses to God’s abundant mercy and love.  May God continue to bless their work and inspire others to join them in their efforts to build a civilisation of love in Jesus’ name.

For further information and comment, please contact Peter Arndt (Catholic Justice & Peace Commission) on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476 or Ravina Waldren (Murri Ministry) on (07) 3891 5911 or 0408 707 101.

 This statement is issued by the Commission under the provisions of its mandate which enable it to speak in its own right and has been authorised by the Commission’s Executive and its Aboriginal advisors before release. 

Commission to Screen Queensland Documentary on World Environment Day


Friday 1 June 2012

 

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission will host a World Environment Day screening of a documentary film depicting the struggle of Central Queensland communities against coal and gas extraction in their region.

Directed by US-based filmmaker Michael O’Connell, the film, Bimblebox, follows the story of Paola Cassoni, a resident of Alpha, Queensland, and co-owner of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

Bimblebox Nature Refuge is an 8000 ha property north of Alpha and directly in the path of the proposed ‘China First’ coal mine, an operation that, if given the go ahead, will be the world’s largest coal mine.

The documentary features interviews with leading academics, scientists, and former miners, as well as members of the communities impacted by mining. , It builds a picture of the broader implications of Australia’s mining boom, while focussing on one woman’s fight to protect the land she loves.

“This documentary was born out of the necessity” Ms Cassoni said, “to let the broader public know that our bush, our communities, our farms and our waters are going through a radical transformation.”

“It shows the daily battles and frustrations of ordinary people in dealing with both mining corporations and indifferent Governments,” she said.

It’s more than a hint that we need a new direction in energy consumption both at home and globally,” she added.

Mr O’Connell is an experienced environmental documentary film maker, having previously made Mountain Top Removal, a documentary which focussed on the issue of coal mining in the US region of Appalachia and received numerous awards including the ‘Reel Current’ award, presented by Al Gore, at the Nashville Film Festival.

“After making my film Mountain Top Removal I wanted to look at the global issue of mining and also explore the alternatives to fossil fuels.  Australia was a perfect place to do that,” Mr O’Connell said.

The Justice and Peace Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission was keen to promote the broadest possible discussion of the issues surrounding coal mining and gas extraction in Queensland.

“This film gives us the chance to hear the views and feelings of people living in the central west of Queensland whose lives and lands will be directly affected by very large mining developments,” Mr Arndt said.

“Christians have a responsibility to care for the earth and to defend the human dignity of all people now and in the future,” he said.

“It is not only the very powerful voices of Government Ministers and mining company executives which must be heard, but also those of graziers, workers and families living in areas affected by the decisions and actions of government and business,” he said.

Bimblebox will screen at the Aspinall Centre, St Bernard’s Parish, Klumpp Road, Upper Mt Gravatt, at 7 p.m. on World Environment Day, Tuesday 5 June.

A panel of speakers will discuss the film after its screening and light refreshments will be served.

Donations to help cover costs will be gratefully accepted.  Bookings to help with catering may be made by e-mailing em.fl@bne.catholic.net.au or by phoning Sandi on 3336 9174.

Australian Government Must Continue to Pressure Sri Lanka on War Crimes Accountability and Reconciliation


Friday 2 March 2012

Following the release of its response to the Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report, the Australian Government must continue to put strong pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that there is justice for all those whose lives were affected by the war.  We urge the Australian Government to do three things in particular:

  • Pressure Sri Lanka to agree to and cooperate fully with an independent, international investigation of allegations of serious war crimes and human rights violations committed by both the Sri Lankan Government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) during the country’s bloody conflict which ended in May 2009;
  • Support this demand at the United Nations Human Rights Council when it meets to consider the matter in March; and
  • Ensure that the Sri Lankan Government publishes a timetable for implementation of the LLRC’s recommendations concerning restitution and political reconciliation and fully implements each of these recommendations.

This call is made by the Sri Lanka Justice Forum Brisbane, a coalition of organisations and individuals committed to promoting justice and peace in Sri Lanka.

In making this call, the Sri Lanka Justice Forum notes the following:

  • Three leading international human rights organisations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group, all refused to participate in the LLRC hearings as they considered the establishment of the Commission as a whitewash by the Sri Lankan Government;
  • Amnesty International, in particular, produced a detailed report in September 2011, When Will They Get Justice?’, which demonstrated the serious flaws in the structure, terms of reference and operation of the LLRC;
  • The LLRC’s finding that the Government forces did not deliberately target and kill Tamil civilians is at odds with the findings of the United Nations Secretary-General’s expert panel report on war crimes and human rights violations committed in the last stages of the Sri Lankan civil war;
  • The USA and other major Western powers insist that a credible independent investigation of war crimes and human rights violations must take place;
  • The Tamil National Authority (TNA) tabled a detailed report in the Sri Lankan Parliament in October 2011 showing the continuing, systematic militarisation of the north and east of the country and the further marginalisation of Tamil people in their homelands;
  • It is doubtful that the LLRC report recommendations will be implemented as the Sri Lankan Government has a track record of establishing flawed commissions and never implementing their recommendations;
  • Sri Lankan Government representatives have been meeting with TNA parliamentarians for a prolonged period to address Tamil grievances, but commitments made have not been            honoured and no progress towards a political solution has been made.

The Sri Lanka Justice Forum Brisbane expects the Australian Government to join with other nations in demanding a credible and independent investigation of war crimes and human rights violations at the UN Human Rights Council.  There can be no durable peace in Sri Lanka without action to ensure that those responsible for terrible war crimes and human rights violations are held fully accountable.

Given the repeated failure of the Sri Lankan Government to keep its promises and to respect internationally accepted human rights standards and the clear evidence of the increasing political, economic and social marginalisation of Tamils following the war, the Australian Government cannot simply make a statement that it expects the Sri Lankan Government to set down a timetable for implementing the LLRC’s recommendations and implement them.  Australia must actively monitor progress closely and hold the Sri Lankan Government to account for its actions.

The Sri Lankan Government must not be allowed to resolve its conflict with the Tamil people by depriving them of their cultural identity, their attachment to land and their social, economic and political rights.

The many thousands of Tamils who have suffered so much at the hands of both the Government and LTTE forces have a right to dignity.  Their immense pain and suffering cannot be ignored and dismissed as irrelevant to the future of Sri Lanka.  Those who have inflicted such grievous physical and psychological harm and distress on them must be held to account for their actions if the dignity of Tamil people is to be respected and Sri Lanka is to move forward to a peaceful and prosperous future.

Australia must play its part to ensure that justice is done so that a genuine and lasting peace is possible in Sri Lanka.

For further information or comment, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

Download This File


Kathy Kelly Brisbane Events

 

The 2011 Pace e Bene Australia
NATIONAL INSPIRITOR TOUR
 Kathy Kelly and Friends
13 October – 27 November

Pace e Bene Australia are pleased to announce that Kathy Kelly will be traveling across the country for 6 weeks visiting schools, universities, churches, public meetings, facilitating retreats and other various groups.  Every 2 years Pace e Bene Australia invites a world renowned nonviolence practitioner and educator to inspire us in the journey from violence to wholeness.  Kathy will be drawing on her experiences from witnessing wars, leading teams on peace campaigns in conflict zones and standing against war in her own country the US in order to help inspire us us as we attempt to create a peaceful and less violent society here in Australia.

Please follow us here or on Facebook or Twitter for information about events in your state as they unfold.  Or contact us for more information.

BRISBANE

 

The Cost of War the Price of Peace.
Thursday 27th Oct.
7.15 pm for 7.30pm start
Parliamentary Annexe, Alice St., Brisbane.
Cost $15 waged $10 unwaged
Co sponsored by Believing Women for a Culture of Peace.

Just Peace 10th Anniversary Dinner (Guest Speaker)
Friday 28th Oct. 
2nd Floor TLC Building 16 Peel St. Sth. Brisbane
contact  Annette on 0431597256

Nonviolence Workshop for Young adults
Saturday 29th Oct. 10am-4pm Nonviolence
West End Uniting Church, Cnr. Sussex and Vulture St. West End
Cost waged $10 Unwaged $8
Lunch  provided by Food not Bombs
RSVP by Oct. 24th to Elizabeth on 0408 742 694  or elizabeth.florence@uqconnect.edu.au

Co sponsored by Project Hope, Waiters Union.

Afternoon Tea : Cost of War on Woman and children in Afghanistan
Sunday 30th Oct.
2pm-4pm Afternoon Tea,
West End Uniting Church, Sussex St, West End.
Cost $15 or  $10 concession.
Co sponsored by Womens International League for Peace and Freedom (Brisbane)

Click Here To Download The Brisbane Flyer

 

For more information about events in QLD please contact :
Carole Powell
(07) 5498 5247
peacedove@bigpond.com

Building Bridges, Not Walls: Prisons and the justice system

Social Justice Sunday 2011 – 25 September

Resources available from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

Letter from Archbishop Philip Wilson (pdf)
Order form (pdf) 
Summary (pdf)
Media release (pdf)
Liturgy notes (pdf)
Community and schools resource (pdf)
PowerPoint presentation (pptx)

Social Justice Statement 2011–2012 (pdf)
Social Justice Statement 2011–2012 (doc)

South Coast Catholic Environmental Network to Form

 Friday 8 July 2011

A gathering to form a Catholic sustainability network on the Gold Coast will take place at Marymount College, Burleigh Waters, at the end of July.

The gathering has been organised after several months of discussions and planning between the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission and a small group of Gold Coast Catholics committed to environmentally responsible practices.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission has placed a high priority on supporting Catholics to embrace ecological sustainability in their parishes, schools, homes, workplaces and the community.

“Pope John Paul II called for an ‘ecological conversion’ in 1990 and we are trying to help Catholics to respond to that call,” Mr Arndt said.

The gathering will take place on Sunday 31 July from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. in the Doyle Centre at Marymount College, Burleigh Waters.

“It seems very appropriate for us to hold this first gathering at the place where the Commission launched our very successful environmental project, Cool Communities, in 2003,” Mr Arndt said.

“Over 400 Catholic households participated in that project which helped them to find ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“In the current circumstances where the impact of climate change is already being felt, it is important for us as Catholics to take action to care for the earth so that future generations do not face great difficulties,” he said.

The Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, Luke Edwards, will speak about the ASSISI sustainability program at the gathering and the Gold Coast City Council and local environmental groups will give a presentation on what resources, opportunities and support is available for Catholics interested in promoting ecologically sustainable practices.

Mr Arndt said that an important part of the day would be discussions about what local Catholics are already doing in their schools, parishes and the community, what they would like to do in the future and what they need to take further steps.

It is also hoped that a number of local environmental groups will have displays at the gathering.

“The Commission wants to ensure that an opportunity for on-going gatherings, support and collaboration is provided,” he said.

“The Commission will endeavour to be a resource to support the maintenance and growth of this local network and its actions,” he said.

“If we get a good response on the South Coast, we hope this can spread to other parts of the Archdiocese,” he said.

“We think we can do a better job if we work with Catholics collaboratively in the communities where they live their faith,” he said.

Lunch, morning and afternoon tea will be provided.  Participants are asked to make a small donation to help with costs.

Bookings are appreciated.  Bookings and enquiries may be made by contacting Peter Arndt at arndtp@bne.catholic.net.au or 3336 9173.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

 

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

A Call for Christians to Stand Up for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Monday 20 June 2011

 

In the current debate on Australia’s policy on the treatment of asylum seekers, it is imperative that Christians be active in promoting respect for the dignity of every human being who flees persecution and violence and seeks asylum in our country.

There is little evidence that respect for the human dignity of asylum seekers is at the heart of either the Government’s or the Opposition’s policies.  Both sides support prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seekers in isolated centres on mainland Australia and in offshore facilities; both sides have been responsible in government for locking up many children seeking asylum; and both sides are willing to ‘export’ asylum seekers to other countries where they are deprived of basic rights and subjected to further danger or harm.  These approaches can only add to the trauma, anxiety and deprivation suffered by asylum seekers.  They demonstrate a deplorable lack of compassion and are grossly unjust.

It is also apparent that the willingness of major political parties to adopt harsh policies which subject asylum seekers to trauma, humiliation and indignity is, in part, fuelled by hostile attitudes among some in the Australian community towards people of different races, ethnicities and religions.  Such intolerance and discrimination should not shape Australia’s policies on the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees nor should they be accepted by Christians or condoned by their silence.

In his Message for World Migrant and Refugee Day 2011, Pope Benedict XVI stressed the responsibility of Christians to be a sign of union with God and of the unity of the human family.  He said that it was imperative for us to welcome refugees as our sisters and brothers:

“… in the case of those who are forced to migrate, solidarity is nourished by the “reserve” of love that is born from considering ourselves a single human family and, for the Catholic faithful, members of the Mystical Body of Christ: in fact we find ourselves depending on each other, all responsible for our brothers and sisters in humanity and, for those who believe, in the faith. As I have already had the opportunity to say, ‘Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is for everyone an imperative gesture of human solidarity, so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and disinterest’.”

The Pope goes on to explain what welcoming our sisters and brothers seeking asylum entails:

“This means that those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety, where they may work and take on the rights and duties that exist in the Country that welcomes them, contributing to the common good and without forgetting the religious dimension of life.”

While the Pope acknowledges that Governments have a responsibility to regulate the flow of migrants and to defend their borders, he insists that, whatever they do in this regard, they must always guarantee “the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person.”

The Government’s proposed agreement with Malaysia clearly fails to guarantee respect for the human dignity of asylum seekers.  It proposes to engage in people trading which is unconscionable and morally wrong under any circumstances, even if it achieved its aim of “stopping the boats”.  It cannot guarantee that those sent to Malaysia prompt and transparent processing of their claims for protection; it cannot guarantee that they will have access to work, education, health care or welfare; and it cannot guarantee their physical safety while awaiting a determination.

The Opposition’s proposal to resurrect “the Pacific solution” with the cooperation of the Government of Nauru fails the same human dignity test.  When this measure was employed by the Howard Government, it resulted in asylum seekers languishing on Nauru for years awaiting a determination and, when that determination was finally made, the vast majority of asylum seekers were found to be bona fide refugees who were resettled in Australia.  Many needed immediate and substantial medical treatment for the psychological traumatisation caused by their prolonged detention.

Offshore processing of refugee claims, whether in Malaysia, Nauru or Papua New Guinea has been instigated by successive Australian Governments as a means of thwarting so-called people smugglers.  There is no doubt that the exploitation of the misery and desperation of asylum seekers by people smugglers is abominable, but subjecting asylum seekers to harsh and inhumane treatment as a means of countering people smuggling is reprehensible as it only compounds the suffering and injustice asylum seekers endure.

While the numbers of asylum seekers coming to Australia by boat in recent years is higher than in the past, they are still very small compared with those seeking asylum in other countries.

As a wealthy nation and as a signatory to the Refugee Convention, Australia has the capacity and the responsibility to process and resettle the number of asylum seekers currently arriving on our shores. 

It is appalling that our political leaders would rather enlist developing nations which already have many asylum seekers within their borders to deal with those who come to our shores than to directly process their claims here in Australia as is our obligation under the Refugee Convention.

It is also deplorable that we insist on detaining asylum seekers in remote facilities for long periods at enormous financial expense to the country and at great expense to the mental and physical welfare of asylum seekers.  It is time that both major parties adopted other less harmful and expensive means of processing claims for protection promptly in Australia.

There are hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers in our region.  Most of them wait for many years in pitiful conditions for their refugee claims to be determined and to be resettled.  Our political leaders should devote much more of their energy to working with all the countries in our region with large numbers of asylum seekers, countries which re-settle refugees, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and non-government organisations working in the region to improve the standard of accommodation and support for asylum seekers, to improve and expedite the processing of refugee claims and to re-settle refugees more efficiently and promptly.  Such a regional focus will offer hope to the large numbers of people seeking protection in the Asia/Pacific region.  At the same time, it will offer Australia a framework within which it can seek assistance to deal with specifically Australian refugee issues without resorting to inhumane approaches.

Australia must fulfil its obligations in full as a signatory to the Refugee Convention; it should only do deals with countries which are signatories to the Convention; and it should actively work for a genuine regional framework for the processing of refugee claims and the resettlement of refugees.

The Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission will make our concerns known to the Federal Government and the Opposition, to all the Members of Parliament in our Archdiocese and to all Queensland’s Senators.  The Commission urges Catholics, our Christian sisters and brothers and all people who support the values informing the Refugee Convention to join with us in rejecting the crass and unseemly politicking which worsens the pain and injustice endured by asylum seekers and refugees and the racial and religious intolerance to which it panders.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.
 

Last Days to Sign Petition re Sri Lankan Human Rights Violations

Friday 20 May 2011

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, in collaboration with Pax Christi Queensland, has launched a campaign to encourage the Australian Government to press for the full implementation of the recommendations of a report on accountability for human rights violations committed in the final stages of the bloody Sri Lanka conflict which ended two years ago.

The report was prepared for the United Nations Secretary-General by an advisory panel of three experts and was delivered to the Secretary-General in April.

The report found that there were credible allegations of serious violations of human rights law and humanitarian law committed by both the Sri Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE).

Allegations against the Government included that it shelled civilians in “safe zones”, that it shelled hospitals and humanitarian facilities and that it denied humanitarian assistance to victims of the conflict.

Allegations against the LTTE included that it killed civilians trying to flee LTTE-controlled areas, that it recruited child soldiers and that it recruited forced labour.

The advisory panel recommended that the Sri Lankan Government conduct a thorough investigation of these allegations in line with international standards and that the United Nations establish international mechanisms to support these investigations.

The panel also recommended that the Sri Lankan Government adopt a number of short term accountability measures which ensure respect and dignity for the victims and survivors of the conflict.

It also recommended a number of long term measures including a formal apology by the Sri Lankan Government for its human rights violations and the provision of reparations to survivors of the conflict.

The Justice and Peace Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that its campaign seeks to encourage the Australian Government to become a committed advocate of the full implementation of the report’s recommendations.

“Our fundamental concern is for a lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka,” Mr Arndt said.

“Hundreds of thousands of people were put through the most horrifying and appalling experience at the hands of both the Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil Tigers,” he said.

“There can be no healing unless those on both sides who were responsible for their suffering are held to account,” he said.

“The UN panel judged that the investigations and reconciliation processes put in place by the Sri Lankan Government to date are inadequate and flawed,” he said.

“We believe that Australia must play its part in ensuring that peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka is possible,” he said.

The Commission and Pax Christi Queensland launched their campaign last night at a prayer service at St Oliver Plunkett Church in Cannon Hill.

The campaign encourages people to sign a petition to the Senate and to contact their local MPs and Senators calling on them to encourage the Australian Government to support the UN panel’s recommendations.

“We have also asked that people pray for the people of Sri Lanka and especially for those who are still suffering including the thousands still in detention two years after the war,” Mr Arndt added.

Download copies of the Sri Lanka petition 2011 and the Sri Lanka info sheet 2011 (1)

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Solidarity with South Sudan

Map of Southern SudanThe Sudanese Bishops at their last meeting in Jubathis May have outlined a program and prayer in the lead-up to becoming the world’s newest nation on July 9th.

The campaign is launched on Saturday May 28th with Eucharistic processions. The next day Sunday 29th becomes a Day of Reconciliation as described

“Preaching on reconciliation at all levels social, political and religious. Reconciliation among tribes – mending differences through traditional and religious reconciliation rituals and symbols”.

 On Pentecost Day there will be blessing and planting of trees as symbols of new birth. Dioceses, families, institutions, school, and parishes will be encouraged to plant a tree.

Some trees will produce medicine, a sign of healing from trauma and war. Other trees will give fruit as signs of hope and promise.

On June 29th a novena will focus on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

Please join them in your prayer. There have been some violent incidents in the border areas over the past 5 months. They pray for peace, courage and hope.

Parishes, schools, agencies and households are invited to pray for them in their times of prayer and in their Eucharistic prayers of the faithful.  The set prayer below may be helpful for those wishing to incorporate prayer for Sudan into their times of prayer.

Prayer for the Republic of South Sudan

God of Mercies, we thank you for your great love for us.

We ask you to guide our leaders in the process of nation building.

Grant them wisdom, compassion and fortitude.

Loving God, give us courage to reject ethnic resentment

as well as ethnic conflicts.

Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, help us

to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts

so that we become reconciled citizens in our new nation.

Renew in us the will for honest and hard work,

and bring us closer to you in the spirit of service,

unity and lasting peace.

Lord, we pray for our heroes, our martyrs and all innocent people

who died during the long years of war.

 We pray in thanksgiving for all those who stood by us

in solidarity to bring about peace.

 Unite us from every tribe, tongue and people.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us and may your will be done in us.

 God bless our new nation;

Bless theRepublic of South Sudan.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!