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Media Releases

from the National Council of Churches in Australia

Peace on Earth

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,
praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom God favours!” Luke 2:13-14

Peace on earth is more than the absence of conflict, peace is stability. Everyone wants stable employment, health, housing and. personal relationships. A stable political and economic environment is also desired.

Similar desires filled first century people. Economic and social pressures existed and increased when all citizens were required to journey to their home town for a census.

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Kohistan, Pakistan is one of the poorest and most remote and culturally conservative regions in the world. It’s also one of the worst places in the world to be a woman: a place where fathers arrange their daughters’ marriages when they are just children so they can marry them off as soon as they go through puberty. Once they are married, women are almost never allowed to leave their homes.
Australians who support Act for Peace’s Christmas Bowl appeal in 2011 will be helping to provide quality doctors and health workers in Kohistan, promote greater awareness of the importance of health care and hygiene and help women access the pre- and post-natal care they need

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia 


A report on displacement and poverty in Burma to be released in Australia on Monday has found that despite growing opportunities for change by the Burmese government, the Burmese army has forcibly displaced more people in the past year than at any time in the past 10 years.
Displacement and Poverty in South East Burma / Myanmar, the annual report by a consortium of humanitarian agencies including Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, has documented 105 villages which have been destroyed by the Burmese army and 112,000 people forcibly displaced in the past year in south east Burma alone.
Act for Peace, which supports displaced people in Burma and Burmese refugees in Thailand and Australia, believes the current window of democratic reform is the best opportunity in decades to resolve ethnic conflict. The aid agency is encouraging the Australian government to use the report to pursue an international investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma.

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 from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

“Conservation farming has changed many lives of the people living in our community,” says Shanangurai Pedzisai, a farmer from the Mwenezi district of Zimbabwe. “I am getting enough food to feed my family and help other people. Now I am a better woman, because I can make some money to put my children through school.”

Church-goers who support this year’s Christmas Bowl will be helping to lift Zimbabwean farmers like Shanangurai out of poverty, thanks to improved farming techniques which deliver greater crop yields.

From the Coptic Orthodox Church, Sydney Diocese Australia
In an unprecedented show of support within the Australian Federal Parliament, we witnessed today the authentic Australian spirit of fairness, justice, courage and mateship.

The passing of the motion in a bipartisan support that:

(1) recognises that Coptic Christians in Egypt are suffering ongoing and increasing persecution;
(2) condemns the recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt;
(3) expresses its sympathy for Coptic Christians who have been victims of recent attacks in Egypt; and
(4) calls on the Government to:

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

As the Australian Government prepares to introduce amendments to Migration Legislation the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) again calls for Australia to take seriously its obligations to protect refugee and asylum seekers under international law.

“Australia not only has legal obligations to asylum seekers it also has moral obligations. We are a prosperous nation and the Government is introducing legislation that will place a burden upon poorer nations in the region.” said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

This week congregations across Australia will grapple with prisons and the justice system as the focus for Social Justice Sunday. The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) Social Justice Network has produced the resource “I was in prison and you visited me” to assist congregations to discuss, reflect and consider actions to advocate for a more just society.

 “It is of great concern to see that the number of people in prison is increasing faster than the population growth whilst the crime rate is decreasing, said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.

From The National Council of Churches in Australia

 

Kerry_Charlton_NATSIECThe National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC) are pleased to announce that Kerry Charlton has been appointed as the NATSIEC National Director.

Kerry has a background in education and training, her skills and experience have been further developed through employment with TAFE, work with Government departments and the church particularly the Christian Brothers.   Kerry is held in high regard as a consultant on Aboriginal issues.

 

Leading Australian and international experts will discuss issues of peace and conflict resolution in Canberra on September 20, on the eve of the International Day of Peace. The panel discussion, Build Peace, End Poverty: What Can Australia Do?, will highlight the role Australia can play in building global peace and security.

The Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations

We, the representatives of the major religions affiliated to the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO), remember with sorrow the events which took place in the United States ten years ago on September 11 ("9/11"). We mourn the victims, and unite in condemnation of all acts of violence perpetrated in the name of religion.

As members of APRO, we resolve to play our part in the effort to ensure that such actions are relegated to history.

From the National Council of Churches in Australia

 

Australian Churches Call for a Humane Bipartisan Approach for Asylum Seekers

 

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) welcomes the High Court ruling that overturns the Government’s Malaysia ‘solution’ and calls for a humane bipartisan approach for asylum seekers and refugees.

“The churches have repeatedly called for a bipartisan approach concerning refugees and asylum seekers which ensures that we fulfil our international obligations to a high standard and enhances Australia’s reputation as a just and humane global citizen” said the Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary.

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Festival will Highlight Contribution of Refugees to Australian Society

 The Festival of Refugees in St Kilda on Sunday August 21 will celebrate the positive and creative contributions made by refugees and asylum seekers to Australian society.

The festival is the largest annual celebration of its kind in Victoria. This year, attendees will include refugees from Sudan, South Sudan, Burma, West Papua, Sri Lanka, Congo, Tibet, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. The festival will feature cultural performances from members of Melbourne’s refugee population, including guest artist Red Horse, a Native American dancer, and Uyghur and Kurdish dancers.

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Ongoing conflict in the Horn of Africa exacerbates effects of drought

Severe food shortages as a result of drought, and ongoing conflict in the Horn of Africa, have left millions of people on the brink of starvation, and help is urgently needed, says Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace.

 

The complete failure of rains in October to December last year, and late erratic rains this year, have led to harvest failure, skyrocketing food prices, a decrease in water availability and livestock losses in many parts of the country.

 

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

As South Sudan prepares to become the world’s newest country on 9 July, Act for Peace and other humanitarian organisations are deeply concerned about heavy fighting in the disputed border areas between North and South Sudan, including Abyei and South Kordofan. Between January and mid-May 2011, over 117,000 people were displaced and almost 1,400 killed in South Sudan alone, more deaths than in all of 2010.

from Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia

Escalating violence against civilians in Sudan’s disputed South Kordofan state is leading to a major humanitarian catastrophe and threatens to return war to Sudan just weeks before the independence of South Sudan.

Several eye-witness accounts indicate that government troops are carrying out “house-to-house” searches in the towns, pulling out suspected opposition sympathisers and in some cases killing them on the spot.