• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image

Tuesday, 12 February 2008 01:00

Apology to the Stolen Generations

From the National Civil Society Dialogue

We welcome the apology to the stolen generations from the federal government.

An apology to Indigenous Australians for the wrongs committed in the past is vital to the dignity of our nation.

‘Sorry’ is no mere word. It is a symbol to unite Australia and allow us to move forward with mutual respect between all who live in this country. This formal apology from Parliament gives us a common voice to overcome past injustices.

Australians have a shared history we must acknowledge. We cannot expect healing and reconciliation until we recognise the devastating and long-term consequences to Indigenous communities of past policies and practices. It is evident these policies were wrong and have caused tremendous harm to generations of Indigenous families.

This apology for the forcible removal of children from their communities and families must also be a springboard for urgent practical action to achieve a fair and decent Australia. 

It provides the foundation for constructing a future where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people receive the same standards of health, education and employment opportunities to fully participate in the life of this country.

We reach out to the First Peoples of this land to mark a new stage of our life together. In understanding of what has gone before, we now look forward to creating a future based on dignity and mutual respect.

Foundation sponsors of the National Civil Society Dialogue:

Rev John Henderson, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA)
Andrew Johnson, Executive Director, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS)
Don Henry, Executive Director, Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)
Sharan Burrow, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)


For more information, please call Shannon Walker on 0414 694 476

from the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) is marking the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty by urging all Australians to examine and put right their relationship with Indigenous Australians.

Executive Secretary of NATSIEC, Mr Graeme Mundine said, “Indigenous Australians should not be living in poverty. Australia has the resources, but we have always lacked the will from the mainstream community to raise our Aboriginal brothers and sisters to the same standard of living that other Australians enjoy.”

“On Monday, the Federal Government released its report into the Northern Territory Intervention and said they needed to “recalibrate” their relationship to Aboriginal people who are affected by the Intervention.”

“No truer word was said. The past eighteen months have brought some significant changes in Indigenous affairs such as the rollout of the Northern Territory Intervention, the new Federal Government, and the Apology in February. While all these things are signals that things can improve, my fear is that too much has stayed the same. The fundamental relationship and attitude to Indigenous people has not changed,” Mr Mundine continued.

“I particularly urge people not to be complacent, and think these positive signals mean all has been rectified. Don’t think for a minute that the Intervention, especially in its current form, will end poverty. Don’t forget for a minute that not all Aborigines live in the Northern Territory. Indigenous poverty is experienced right around Australia.”

“The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty draws our attention to the needs of the poor and stirs our hearts to take action and mobilizes our voices to speak out against injustice. This year it is more pertinent than ever before as we watch the world financial system melt down. Rather than panic and worry about how we will personally be affected by the financial upheaval, could we not take this opportunity to question the system that gives wealth to 5% of humanity and leaves the other 95% floundering in the wake?”

“On this significant day I urge people to question the systems that cause poverty, to enlarge their understanding of Indigenous poverty, and to make a personal commitment to Making Indigenous Poverty History,” Mr Mundine concluded.

For further comment: Graeme Mundine 0419 238 788
For further information on the Make Indigenous Poverty History Campaign www.makeindigenouspovertyhistory.org

a statement from the National Council of Churches in Australia

The following statement was endorsed by the Executive of the National Council of Churches in Australia at its meeting on 6 November 2008.

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10th 2008, the member Churches of the NCCA affirm their commitment to dignity and justice for all, and in particular for our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

With great vision the creators of the UDHR enshrined the knowledge that we are all born with inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights. The theme for this year’s commemoration reminds us of this great truth and calls us to take action where we see injustice and to treat each other with the dignity and respect inherent in our humanity.

We are reminded however that 60 years after creating this potent statement of human rights, Indigenous Australians have cause to question whether dignity and justice has really been for all. The Churches have always believed that humankind is created in God’s image and that we must respect and love each other no matter who we are or where we are from. We acknowledge that we too have had to examine our own past relationships with Indigenous peoples and understand where we have failed to recognize and respect God’s likeness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We look to the future with hope and believe that this moment in time represents a critical juncture in how we, as a nation, relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We recognize the high level of political and popular will to create real and lasting change. We recognize and congratulate the Federal Government on their stated commitment to addressing Indigenous disadvantage, one aspect of achieving dignity and justice. We believe that the Federal Government has voiced a sincere commitment to a new and reinvigorated approach to ending Indigenous poverty.

However, we are concerned that without a meaningful and far reaching re-visioning of our relationship with Indigenous peoples and an overt commitment to a human rights led development agenda that we are doomed to repeat past mistakes and wrongs.

We urge the Government to ensure that the human rights of Indigenous Australians are safeguarded and their citizen rights upheld. Policy solutions must ensure that individual rights are protected. We therefore ask the Government to ensure that all policy measures, including the Northern Territory Emergency Response, adhere to the Racial Discrimination Act. Further, we urge the Government to explicitly show their support for Indigenous rights by signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Then we can be sure we are moving towards Dignity and Justice for all.  

_______________________
For further comment contact: Mr Graeme Mundine 0419 238 788

Thursday, 13 November 2008 01:00

Everyone's Eyes on Burma

from act for peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

To download the high resolution photo that aligns with this release, please go to:  http://www.ncca.org.au/actforpeace/thailand-burma_border_christmas_bowl_press_release


For twenty one years, the Christmas Bowl has supported hundreds of thousands of Burmese refugees who have fled to camps on the Thailand-Burma border in an effort to escape the horror of the persecution imposed by a brutal and violent military Junta.

The suffering of the people of Burma became even greater in 2008, when Cyclone Nargis devastated the lives of those living in the Irrawaddy Delta, the main rice production region of the country.

Saw Ler Lah is a survivor who sought refuge in the already under-resourced border camps following the Cyclone. He recalls, “I said to the people in my village to take shelter in the church. We stayed there throughout the night and listened to the cyclone. When we came out in the morning, everything was gone.”

In addition to this disaster, the global food price crisis brought further suffering to the already impoverished people of Burma. 

Sally Thompson, Deputy Director of the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) said “we are in a critical time because of the global food crisis and the cyclone in Burma.”  These problems cannot be ignored as the health and well being of 140,000 refugees is at stake.

Thompson said of Cyclone Nargis, “It has brought many issues to a head at the same time. We have to be flexible to deal with the emergency inside the country; at the same time we have to remain open to the fact that Burma is still generating new arrivals of refugees…If we do not get a certain amount of dollars, we will have no choice but to cut the ration.”

Australians have been drawn into Burma’s tragic narrative as more of us have come to recognise the inhumane situation in which our close neighbours live.  During a period of such uncertainty, it is critical that the Christmas Bowl assists the TBBC in maintaining stability in the conflict-ridden border area.

This year, the Christmas Bowl hopes to provide food, shelter and income generating activities to more than 5000 Burmese refugees. As the price of rice has more than doubled in the wake of Cyclone Nargis and the global food crisis in Burma, assistance for Burmese refugees should be on everyone’s agenda this Christmas. By giving just $76 to this year’s Christmas Bowl, you can provide food for a family of four refugees for one month.

The Christmas Bowl is a program of act for peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

For further comment from the Executive Director,
please contact Edwyn Shiell, Marketing & Communication Coordinator, on 0402 254 968.
www.actforpeace.org.au

Friday, 05 December 2008 01:00

What can we do for Zimbabwe this Christmas?

To download the high resolution photo that aligns with this release, please go to:  http://www.ncca.org.au/actforpeace/zimbabwe_media_release.

Australian households are beginning to feel the financial strain of a global economic crisis.  The spirit of giving and sharing at Christmas time will be a true test of people’s generosity this year. However, while we face a difficult and uncertain period, Zimbabwe is in crisis.

More than 5.1 million Zimbabweans need food aid urgently, as the country is crippled by a collapsed economy, severe food insecurity, a lack of basic service delivery, a political stalemate and a devastating Cholera outbreak.  In the past few weeks, aid channels have been opened again and it is time to help.

The Christmas Bowl supports several partners in Zimbabwe including Christian Care Zimbabwe, which delivers food aid and agricultural assistance to more than 720,000 people.

Christian Care Director, Reverend Forbes Matonga said, “As a nation, we are confronted with the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time.  The near collapse of the financial system, near destitution of close to five million members of our population who are now reliant on food aid, a run away cholera epidemic already spinning out of control and spilling beyond our borders and the HIV/AIDS scourge.”

The Christmas Bowl has been a source of resilience and hope during the protracted 10 year food crisis in Zimbabwe.  During this time, Australian churches have demonstrated a significant kinship through the Christmas Bowl by standing in solidarity with the people during the country’s immense struggles.

Rev. Matonga said, “We express our profound gratitude to the goodwill of the Australian people for standing by us during our darkest hour.”

78 lives have been lost to Cholera in Beitbridge where Christmas Bowl helps provide rainwater tanks.  The outbreak has spread to all of the nation’s eight provinces, killing more than 1000 people.  Cholera is spreading because of Zimbabwe's collapsing infrastructure.  The Australian church community needs to engage and contribute meaningfully to combat this horrendous loss of life.

Despite Zimbabwe’s immense challenges, the people are resilient, and are still full of optimism and hope.

Rev. Matonga said, “As a people of faith we remain hopeful and confident that God will remember us and heal our land.  May the Good Lord honour your service and assistance to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Christian Care Zimbabwe is calling the Australian church community to support the Christmas Bowl and ensure that it can continue to:

• Improve household food security through environmentally friendly, low cost methods of crop production.
..
• Fight the root causes of poverty by positively empowering communities at the grassroots level.

Alistair Gee, Executive Director of act for peace said, “The crisis in Zimbabwe is staggering and  we must do our part to assist Zimbabweans.  A gift of $35 to this year’s Christmas Bowl can provide a farmer with a supply of high yield maize, millet and cowpea seeds and $94 can educate farmers in efficient farming methods.  act for peace aims to send at least $160,000 to help Zimbabweans in the coming months, so we need your support.  Despite our personal hardships and the crisis we face in Australia, we should consider Zimbabwe’s people as we share Christmas with our loved ones.”

The Christmas Bowl is a program of act for peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

For further comment from the Executive Director, please contact Edwyn Shiell, Marketing & Communication Coordinator, on 0402 254 968.
www.actforpeace.org.au

Wednesday, 07 May 2008 00:00

Burma Cyclone Appeal

from the National Council of Churches in Australia

The National Council of Churches in Australia is responding to the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis in Burma (Myanmar), through our humanitarian agency Christian World Service, our partner the Myanmar Council of Churches and our global humanitarian network ACT International.

Over 22,000 people have been killed, 41,000 people are missing and up to a million people have been rendered homeless. These disturbing figures are set to rapidly increase as aid efforts uncover further damage in remote regions of the country. The consequences of the storm are immense, such as food shortages, contaminated water supplies, sanitation problems, damaged infrastructure and communication break downs.

Agricultural regions (particularly the Irrawaddy Delta) have been devastated causing food prices to increase beyond 300%, an impossible burden on the people caught in this tragedy.

Christian World Service has already committed $35,000 to local partners in Burma.

Immediate relief operations are underway with a comprehensive assessment on-going. More information about the response will be available as a more detailed understanding of the issues is uncovered.

Alistair Gee, Executive Director of NCCA CWS says, “As we have seen with other disasters, unless there is a massive and immediate aid effort the people of Burma will feel the affects of this cyclone for years to come.  We are asking for churches around Australia to pray for the people of Burma and to please give generously.”

Churches or individuals may give to the Burma Cyclone Appeal by cheque or money order to: NCCA Christian World Service, Locked Bag 199, SYDNEY NSW 1230.

To give online, please go to www.ncca.org.au.  To give by phone, please call our toll free number 1800 025 101.

Updates about our humanitarian response will be on our website: http://www.actforpeace.org.au.

Over 90% of gifts to this appeal will be sent directly to the field.  Gifts are tax deductible. Any excess funds raised by this appeal will be allocated to ongoing humanitarian and development work for the Burmese people.

________________

For Further Information Contact:

Mr Alistair Gee, Executive Director, NCCA Christian World Service, 0417 672 650

 

Australian Churches Support Development of a Treaty to Ban Cluster Munitions

From the National Council of Churches of Australia

The suffering and hardship caused by cluster munitions was discussed at a recent meeting of the Executive of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA)*.  It was agreed that the Council
o condemns the use of cluster munitions and supports the development of a treaty to ban cluster munitions;
o urges the Australian Government to actively support the development of a treaty; and
o notes the World Council of Churches Central Committee statement on cluster munitions (ref. http://www.oikoumene.org/?id=5616), including the Christian basis for standing against the production and use of cluster munitions.

“For more than 40 years, cluster bombs have killed and wounded innocent people, causing untold suffering, loss and hardship for thousands in more than 35 countries,” said Revd John Henderson, NCCA General Secretary, in a letter to the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Foreign Affairs.  “These weapons cause death and injury to civilians during attacks and for years afterwards as a result of lethal contamination.  Cluster bombs hamper post-conflict rebuilding and rehabilitation, and the dangerous work of cluster bomb clearance absorbs funds that could be spent on other urgent humanitarian needs.  Without determined action the civilian harm caused by these weapons will continue to grow.

“A legally binding international treaty to ban the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions, and to require assistance to survivors, help for affected communities and clearance of contaminated land is critical to protection of life and promotion of peace.  The calls for certain technical exemptions from a ban are not convincing,” said Revd Henderson.

The Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions to negotiate a new instrument of international humanitarian law banning cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians will take place from 19-30 May 2008.  The member Churches of the NCCA urge the Australian Government to take a leading role in this global effort to develop and support a legally binding treaty.

_________
For Further Comment Contact
[Who do you want listed as the contact?]
_________
* The National Council of Churches in Australia is an ecumenical council of member Australian Churches.  View the current list of member Churches at http://www.ncca.org.au/about_us/memberchurches

From the National Council of Churches Australia

The Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Uniting Church and National Council of Churches in Australia support the call by the religious leaders of Zimbabwe for immediate international action to prevent an imminent crisis in Zimbabwe. We express our deep concern over the deteriorating political, security, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe following the 29 March 2008 national elections and the failure of the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission to release the results of the Presidential election.

As religious leaders in Australia we support the appeal this week from religious leaders in Zimbabwe (attached) which:

• warns the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing atrocities similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi;

• calls for the immediate end to political intimidation arising from the desire to influence how people will vote in the anticipated run-off in the presidential poll;

• calls on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the true results of the presidential poll of 29 March 2008 without further delay; and

• commends the people of Zimbabwe for exercising their democratic right peacefully and urging them to maintain and protect their dignity and their vote.

We also:

• commit ourselves, and encourage all churches in Australia, to pray and increase our support for the people of Zimbabwe (the churches, with their considerable networks across Zimbabwe, are one of the vital networks in getting assistance to those most effected by the economic and political crisis).

• call on the Australian Government to provide additional emergency assistance in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country.

Archbishop Philip Wilson, President, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, Primate, Anglican Church of Australia
The Revd Gregor Henderson, President, Uniting Church in Australia
The Revd John Henderson, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Australia

For Further Information:
Mr Alistair Gee, Executive Director, NCCA Christian World Service, 0417 672 650

 

HEADS OF CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS IN ZIMBABWE

CONCERN OVER THE DETERIORATING SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE:  MESSAGE FROM THE HEADS OF CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS IN ZIMBABWE

As the shepherds of the people, we, Church leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), express our deep concern over the deteriorating political, security, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe following the March 29, 2008 national elections.

Before the elections, we issued statements urging Zimbabweans to conduct themselves peacefully and with tolerance towards those who held different views and political affiliation from one’s own.  After the elections, we issued statements commending Zimbabweans for the generally peaceful and politically mature manner in which they conducted themselves before, during and soon after the elections.

Reports that are coming through to us from our Churches and members throughout the country indicate that the peaceful environment has, regrettably, changed.

Given the political uncertainty, anxiety and frustration created by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC’s) failure to release the results of the presidential poll 4 weeks after polling day:

o Organized violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the “wrong” political party in the March 29, 2008 elections has been unleashed throughout the country, particularly in the countryside and in some high density urban areas.  People are being abducted, tortured, humiliated by being asked to repeat slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the “wrong” candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for President, and, in some cases, people are murdered.

o The deterioration in the humanitarian situation is plummeting at a frightful pace.  The cost of living has gone beyond the reach of the majority of our people.  There is widespread famine in most parts of the countryside on account of poor harvests and delays in the process of importing maize from neighbouring countries.  The shops are empty and basic foodstuffs are unavailable.  Victims of organized torture who are ferried to hospital find little solace as the hospitals have no drugs or medicines to treat them.

As the shepherds of the people, we appeal:

• To the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to work towards arresting the deteriorating political and security situation in Zimbabwe.  We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere.

• For the immediate end to political intimidation and retribution arising from how people are perceived to have voted in the March 29, 2008 elections and arising from the desire to influence how people will vote in the anticipated run-off in the presidential poll.  Youth militia and war veteran/military base camps that have been set up in different parts of the country should be closed as a step towards restoring the peace and freedom of people’s movement that was witnessed before and during the March 29, 2008 elections.

• To ZEC to release the true results of the presidential poll of March 29, 2008 without further delay.  The unprecedented delay in the publication of these results has caused anxiety, frustration, depression, suspicion and in some cases illness among people of Zimbabwe both at home and abroad.  A pall of despondency hangs over the nation which finds itself in a crisis of expectations and governance.  The nation is in a crisis, in limbo and no real business is taking place anywhere as the nation waits.

• To, finally, the people of Zimbabwe themselves.  You played your part when you turned out to vote on 29 March 2008.  We, again, commend you for exercising your democratic right peacefully.  At this difficult time in our nation, we urge you to maintain and protect your dignity and your vote.  We urge you to refuse to be used for a political party or other people’s selfish end especially where it concerns violence against other people, including those who hold different views from your own.  It was the Lord Jesus who said, “Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you do it unto me (Matthew 25:45).

We call on all Zimbabweans and on all friends of Zimbabwe to continue to pray for our beautiful nation.  As the shepherds of God’s flock, we shall continue to speak on behalf of Zimbabwe’s suffering masses and we pray that God’s will be done.

We remain God’s humble servants:

The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ)
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference (ZCBC)
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC)

From the National Council of Churches Australia

Australian Celebration from May 4 to May 11

2008 marks 100 years of ecumenical prayer for Christian Unity following the example of Jesus when he prayed, ‘that they may all be one…so that the world may believe’ (John 17.21).

The 8 days before Pentecost – May 4 to May 11 - are a great opportunity to renew and deepen our unity in the one God which we share through Jesus Christ.  The theme is ‘Pray without Ceasing’ (1 Thess 5.17).

As part of the worldwide historic celebration this year, the National Council of Churches in Australia has launched resources for the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Across the country a series of special occasions are being planned to mark the occasion.

This year’ resources come from the Ecumenical Institute in Graymoor, USA, where the ‘Prayer Octave for Christian Unity’ began in 1908.  Adapted for use in Australia, they offer a fresh opportunity to worship together locally, to witness to our unity in Christ, and to pray and act for a greater visible expression of that unity.  All Australian Christians are encouraged to link them into daily and weekly prayers, and into other special occasions (such as the forthcoming World Day of Prayer and National Day of Thanksgiving).

Resources are available at www.churchestogetherinprayer.org.au and include orders of service (congregational and leaders’ versions and MSPowerPoint), the 8 Days prayer and reflection materials, and a range of background information and further links.  Prayer cards and posters (for local advertising) are also available from the NCCA or state ecumenical council offices (contact information available at http://www.ncca.org.au/partnerships/state_councils).

For more information, please contact:
the NCCA office, (02) 9299 2215 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
or the Revd Dr Jonathan Inkpin (02) 9299 2215
or your local state ecumenical council

Tuesday, 11 March 2008 01:00

NCCA Passes Resolutions on the Holy Land

from the National Council of Churches in Australia  

At a national meeting last week, the National Council of Churches in Australia passed a series of resolutions on the situation in the Holy Land.  It is the first time the Council has taken such a stand.  It follows a visit to the region last year by a delegation of Church leaders, as well as international ecumenical developments, such as the new Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum.  By passing these resolutions the Council wants to take a Christian perspective on a land and its peoples who have endured longstanding and intense suffering – on both sides.

 During their 2007 visit the Australian Church leaders spent time with Christian leaders from Jerusalem and the West Bank who are experiencing a mass exodus from their communities.  “People are exhausted by the intimidation and daily restrictions on their personal and commercial activities.  Christians are emigrating in larger numbers, not because of religious persecution, but because life has become intolerable as they are caught between harsh Israeli policies on the one hand and those who engage in terrorist acts on the other,” said the Revd John Henderson, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, and a participant in the visit.  “People have had their fill of violence and threats, and they see no future for themselves or their children, so they leave.  If this trend continues, within a decade or two these communities, which have been there for millennia, will have been driven out of the region.”

“As Christians in Australia, who live comfortable lives some distance away, we are not trying to propose armchair solutions,” said Mr Henderson.  “Collectively, however, the Churches feel that they must respond to the call of their fellow believers who have worshipped in that area since the time of Christ.  They asked us not to be silent, but to speak out when we arrived home.  That is what we are now doing.  We are not choosing ‘sides’ between Israel or the Palestinians, because there is right and wrong on both sides, just as there is in every human situation, especially in such a polarised place as the holy land.  Above all we want to pray and work for a just and lasting peace for everyone, so that this holy place can be a model for the rest of the world, showing us how people can live together in the way God intended.  While the conflict is very complex with many layers, and there is no simple solution, there is hope, and it is important that the international community supports the current peace efforts as much as it can,” said Mr Henderson.

In its adopted resolutions, the National Council of Churches in Australia:

Recognises the special interest of Christians in the Holy Land as the homeland of Jesus Christ and the birthplace of the Church, the special interest of Jews in the Holy Land as the Biblical “promised land”, and the special interest of Muslims in the Holy Land as one of the sacred places visited by the prophet Muhammad.
Affirms the right of the state of Israel to exist, and to exist within secure internationally-recognised borders, without the threat of terrorist attacks from Palestinians or from any others, and without threats to its existence from any other state.
Affirms the right of the people of Palestine to be freed from more than 40 years of military occupation by Israel, to live within secure internationally-recognised borders without harassment or violence perpetrated by any state or by any others, and to determine democratically their own future.
Encourages the Australian Government to:
do all it can to support the current peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel, in the interests of ending the occupation and bringing a just and lasting peace to the peoples of Israel and Palestine;
increase its allocation of aid money to assist community development in Palestinian communities which have been impoverished by years of economic and social disadvantage.
Encourages churches in Australia to pray for a just and lasting peace for the peoples of the Holy Land, and to support initiatives for peace between Palestine and Israel including visits by Australian Christians to the Christians of the Holy Land.
Supports the principle that Jerusalem should be an ‘open city’ for all faiths and all peoples.
Supports a joint visit to Israel and Palestine in 2009 by leaders from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths in Australia.
 

For further comment, contact

Debra Porter, NCCA Communications Officer – (02) 8259 0802 or 0427 789 410