• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Friday, 16 September 2011 09:17

Invest in peace on International Peace Day, say aid agencies

Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, supports effective armed violence reduction and peace programs in conflict-affected countries. Its Executive Director, Alistair Gee, said, “It is time that the asylum seeker debate in Australia focused less on political posturing and more on what Australia could be doing to help reduce the push factors.

“In the lead-up to the International Day of Peace, we are calling on Australian political leaders to focus their efforts and resources on addressing the reasons people seek asylum in the first place, and providing stronger support to reducing armed violence in the countries from which they are fleeing.”

Progress in achievement of the Millennium Development Goals has been slowest in fragile and conflict-affected states. Matthew Maury, TEAR Australia's National Director, said, “In TEAR’s work with the poor and marginalised worldwide, we see clearly the links between conflict and poverty. Our partners in places like Afghanistan, South Sudan and Somalia have taught us that sustained community development is not just blocked by war — it is impossible to achieve in the midst of fighting.

“As people of faith, we believe things can be different — that peace is possible. Australia can become a world leader in peace building work. We call on Australia to work for peace on the International Day of Peace.”

Steve Killelea, founder of the Institute for Economics and Peace, is one of the panellists at the event. Killelea developed the Global Peace Index, which measures the relative peacefulness of 153 countries based on indicators like levels of violent crime, number of deaths from conflict, arms imports and exports and the likelihood of violent demonstrations.

“Australia's cross-party commitment to increasing its Official Development Assistance provides an excellent opportunity for the nation to globally lead the way in creating the optimum environments for peace and development to flourish,” said Killelea.

Other panellists are Ramesh Thakur, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and a leading author on the UN, disarmament and protection; the Rev. Simon Moyle, a prominent Christian activist involved in peace and nonviolence training; and Said Ehsanullah Dileri (Said), who sought asylum in Australia in 2009 after fleeing Afghanistan, and is now a permanent resident, actively engaged in community-building work.

Available for interview: Alistair Gee, Act for Peace; Matthew Maury, TEAR Australia; Steve Killelea, Institute for Economics and Peace; Professor Ramesh Thakur, Australian National University; Said Ehsanullah Dileri (Said), Afghan-born Australian permanent resident and recipient of 2011 Victorian Refugee Recognition Record Award; and the Rev. Simon Moyle, Urban Seed and Pace e Bene.

Media enquiries: please contact Michelle Fahy on 0415 848 641.

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio