Category Archives: Global Citizens

Australia Should Challenge Military Violence in West Papua

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission urged the Australian Government to take a stronger stand on killings and violence by Indonesian security forces in West Papua.

This follows a number of recent incidents in which Indonesian soldiers killed, injured and arrested Papuans who were engaged in peaceful political demonstrations and industrial action.

On October 10, around 8000 workers from the Freeport Mine were at a public meeting in the town of Timika. This was part of their continuing industrial action seeking a pay increase from US$1.50 to $12.50 an hour.

Security forces fired on a group of workers while they were listening to speeches and, as a result, one of the workers, Petrus Ayamsemba was killed and several others were injured and taken to hospital.

It is also alleged that security violence at the Third Papuan People’s Congress in Abepura on 19 October led to the deaths of at least six people and injury to many others.

It is believed that, during the Congress, a declaration of independence was made and Forkorus Yaboisembut was named as President and Edison Waromi as Prime Minister of the Federated State of West Papua.

Indonesian authorities have seen the actions taken by Papuan people at the Congress as an act of subversion and a number of people have been arrested.

The Justice and Peace Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the use of violence and lethal force by Indonesian security forces to deal with peaceful protesters is a matter of grave concern.

“It is our understanding that both the Freeport workers’ industrial action and the Congress were conducted in a peaceful, nonviolent manner,” Mr Arndt said.

“It is immensely disturbing that workers who peacefully demonstrate about their poor wages should be shot at and killed or injured,” he said.

“While the Indonesian Government may have seen the aims of the political protest at Abepura and participants’ actions as provocative, it is appalling that peaceful protesters should be killed, injured and beaten,” he said.

“We work with people who are in regular contact with Papuans who tell them that violence against citizens in West Papua is a frequent occurrence,” he said.

“I have written to the Australian Government on several occasions this year and to each Queensland Senator and Federal MP in South-East Queensland to express concerns about on-going military violence in West Papua,” he said.

“I have pointed out that there is military cooperation between Australia and Indonesia and that, as a military partner, we should be taking a stronger stand on reports of frequent abuses by Indonesian security forces,” he said.

“While the Australian Government appears to have challenged Indonesian authorities over one specific incident of torture by Indonesian soldiers caught on video last year, it does not appear that it is vigorously and substantially challenging the widespread and prolonged violent abuse of the human rights of citizens in West Papua,” he said.

“Australia and Indonesia are good friends,” he said.

“As a friend and military partner, Australia should be able to express our concerns much more strongly about the way Indonesia’s army and police treat people in West Papua,” he said.

“The Commission will continue to press the Government, local MPs and Senators on this atrocious behaviour,” he said.

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

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

Commission Joins in Call for Tough Action on Sri Lanka

Monday 3 October 2011

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission joined in a call for the Commonwealth of Nations to take tough action against Sri Lanka unless it agrees to an independent investigation into war crimes and human rights violations committed during the civil war which ended in 2009.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, recently attended a Parliament House round table in Canberra with representatives from the Australian Tamil community, the International Commission of Jurists, the University of Sydney and the Australian Greens where the call for action against Sri Lanka was made.  The call was made in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will take place in Perth in a few weeks.

Participants at the round table discussed the Sri Lankan Government’s refusal to accept the findings and recommendations of an independent expert panel appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations and evidence of the Government’s on-going failure to respect the human rights of Tamil people.

Mr Arndt joined with the other participants in calling for the Federal Government and the Opposition to:

 

  • Support calls for the suspension of Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth until the Government of Sri Lanka agrees to an international independent investigation into war crimes, restoration of human rights and the rule of law and implementation of all the recommendations of the UN expert panel report on war crimes in Sri Lanka
  • Oppose Sri Lanka hosting CHOGM in 2013.

 The  participants also called on Prime Minister Gillard to join Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, in saying she would not go to CHOGM in Sri Lanka in 2013 unless there is progress in Sri Lanka’s human rights record and in the establishment of an independent war crimes investigation.

MrArndt said that the Sri Lankan Government has shown no commitment to respecting the human rights of Tamils since the end of the civil war in 2009.

“The Sri Lankan Government established its own Commission after the war but has ignored its interim recommendations,” Mr Arndt said.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommended over a year ago that the Government should release the names of those it has in detention, expedite the charging or discharging of detainees, disarm illegal militias in Tamil areas and make a clear policy statement about acquisition of land in Tamil areas,” he said.

“None of these recommendations have been acted on in whole or in part,” he said.

“It has told both Tamil Parliamentarians and foreign government representatives that it has published a list of detainees, but no-one can find it,” he said.

“The Sri Lankan Government is not only treating the Tamil people dreadfully, but it insults other nations with its false claims,” he said.

“The Sri Lankan Government recently ended its State of Emergency in order to give the impression that things are returning to normal, but it used its Prevention of Terrorism Act to promptly re-introduce extraordinary regulations which applied under the State of Emergency,” he said.

“When we also hear that security forces are doing appalling things like assaulting Tamil MPs at public meetings, we cannot accept that the Sri Lankan Government has any respect for human rights or the rule of law,” he said.

“The BBC’s documentary Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields showed how dreadfully both the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers behaved during the war,” he said.

“The BBC has also released interviews with Sri Lankan military officials who said they were told to mutilate, rape and kill Tamil civilians,” he said.

“The Sri Lankan Government must be held accountable for its actions,” he said.

“It is an obscene joke on the part of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia to tell Australian MPs that Tamil injury and death was accidental and ‘collateral damage’” he said.

“Australia must take a strong stand on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at CHOGM and we will continue to advocate this approach vigorously,” he said.

“As the theme of the CHOGM in Perth this year is human rights, it is imperative that Australia and the other Commonwealth countries tell the Government of Sri Lanka that its behaviour has been appalling,” he said.

“At the same time, in fairness, we believe that Australia’s human rights record in relation to asylum seekers and Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory should be fully scrutinised,” he added.

Participants at the round table were:

The Hon John Dowd AO QC (President of the International Commission of Jurists Australia)

Dr Sam Pari (Australian Tamil Congress)

Associate Professor Jake Lynch (Director of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, Sydney University)

Dr Ben Saul (Professor of International Law and Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney University)

Peter Arndt (Executive Officer of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission of Brisbane)

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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.

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.

Commission Expresses Concern over Queensland Nickel and West Papuan Environmental Damage


Monday 4 July 2011

 

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission expressed its concerns about the environmental impact of nickel ore mining on an immensely significant marine ecosystem in the Indonesian province of West Papua.  The ore is shipped by Australian company, Queensland Nickel, for refining in Australia.

Queensland mining billionaire, Clive Palmer, heads Queensland Nickel.

Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age on the weekend suggested that the mining of the nickel laterite used by Queensland Nickel is threatening the health of Raja Ampat, an immensely significant marine ecosystem which is home to over 600 islands, expansive coral reefs and countless fish species.

The Justice and Peace Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that Queensland Nickel should urgently investigate the environmental impact of nickel mining in Raja Ampat and the Australian Government should encourage the company to do so.

“Raja Ampat is an extraordinarily beautiful and important ecosystem which the reports indicate is being seriously damaged by clay soil being washed into the sea and onto the reefs as the mining process strips ore from islands in the region,” Mr Arndt said.

“Australian companies ought not to be involved or benefit, either directly or indirectly, from overseas mining operations which cause environmental havoc,” he said.

“Queensland Nickel says that it is committed to sustainable development and minimising environmental damage and we hope this means they will look into these reports urgently to ensure that their nickel ore suppliers are doing the right thing for the sake of this precious ecosystem,” he said.

“The report also indicates there may be corruption involved in the granting of mining licences in the area and squabbles within the local community as a result of the competing bids of various mining companies,” he said.

West Papua is a troubled province which has been a concern for the Commission for some years,” he said.

“It is plagued by conflict, human rights abuses by the Indonesian security forces, corruption and exploitation of the local tribal groups and the environment,” he said.

“There is nothing wrong with Queensland Nickel making a profit, but it needs to ensure that the rights of the local people and the security of the important ecosystem of Raja Ampat are fully protected in the process,” he said.

“We would also urge the Australian Government to assist Queensland Nickel to ensure that its overseas suppliers are looking after the interests of the people of West Papua and of the local environment,” he said.

“We would encourage Catholics to take an interest in such matters not only because they involve the welfare of our fellow human beings, but because caring for the earth is an essential part of living our Christian faith,” he said.

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.

Commission Issues Call for Climate Action


Monday 6 June 2011

 

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission today issued a statement calling for urgent and effective action on climate change.

The statement also called on Catholics to get involved in promoting effective action by government, industry and the community to address the serious threats posed by climate change.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the Commission is concerned that too much time is being wasted by ill-informed debates about climate science and by self-interest.

“We think it is time for people in the community and the Church to stop wasting time debating whether climate change is happening and whether human beings are the cause,” Mr Arndt said.

“The reality is that the proposition that the earth is warming is supported by the vast majority of scientists who are prepared to publish their findings in scientific journals and subject themselves to the searching scrutiny of their fellow scientists,” he said.

“They also agree with almost total certainty that human activity has caused this,” he said.

“We cannot waste any more time because the consequences of delay will be dreadful for future generations,” he said.

The Commission’s statement refers to a recent report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences which summarises information about the current evidence for climate change and recommends urgent action to reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission did not feel it had the capacity to make judgments about the different mechanisms being proposed for bringing about a transition in the Australian economy in which carbon emissions are drastically reduced.

“We do, however, feel strongly that policies need to bring about significant reductions in carbon emissions and that this means a move away from burning of fossil fuels and towards the use of renewable energy as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences report recommends,” he said.

“The Commission also sees the need for an adequate response,” he said.

“Both sides of politics are currently committing to a 5% reduction in carbon emissions and this is not likely to be enough if we are to avoid massive problems down the track,” he said.

“The Commission also stresses that the plight of those already suffering the consequences of climate change such as those in Pacific island nations need to be remembered,” he said.

“Those who are poor and vulnerable in Australia also need to be protected from the economic consequences of a transition to renewable energy,” he said.

“The Commission calls on everyone to work together to come up with a plan which effectively addresses the threats of climate change,” he said.

“We want to see political and economic self-interest put aside in favour of protecting the long term interests of God’s creation, the whole human family and all the precious ecosystems which sustain us,” he said.

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!

West Papua Solidarity

The West Papua Solidarity Group Brisbane will hold a gathering  on Thursday 12 May at which it will screen the award-winning film Strange Birds in Paradise.

We also expect to have a guest speaker, Rosa Moiwend, a researcher for the Justice & Peace Office in Jayapura, West Papua.  Rosa will speak on the implications for tribal groups of MIFEE, the proposed large scale food security estate to be established in West Papua.

The event will take place at the BCC Brisbane Square Library community meeting room.  Refreshments will be served from 5.30 p.m.  The talk will start at 6.15 p.m. and the film will be shown from 7.15 p.m.

All are welcome.  Entry is free, but donations to cover costs and assist our campaign work would be greatly appreciated.

Please RSVP to  Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476..