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Media Releases
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.

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

The latest figures from the 2011 Global Peace Index launched today in Canberra show that overall the world has become less peaceful over the past year. Around 740,000 people die from armed conflict each year.

“These figures highlight the need to seriously invest in armed violence reduction that works,” says Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

 

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

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International cluster munitions campaigner Soraj Ghulam Habib will visit Australia from 1 to 14 May to raise awareness of the grave threat posed by cluster bombs and other remnants of war. He hopes his visit will highlight the need for strong international action to implement the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, a groundbreaking international treaty which seeks to completely ban cluster munitions for all time.

from the National Council of Churches in Australia
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“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.”
(Mark 16:6)

On Sunday 24 April Christians all over the world will remember God’s love and compassion as Easter is celebrated.  Easter is the time when above all other times the church pauses to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

from the National Council of Churches in Australia 

The World Council of Churches (WCC) has voiced its concern about the plight of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at its recent Central Committee meeting in Geneva.

The WCC statement follows on from a visit to the Northern Territory by a WCC “Living Letters” Team which visited several Aboriginal communities and heard stories and experiences of the Intervention. The Living Letters team expressed concern about the discrimination, oppression and racism they observed and which many Aboriginal people experience on a daily basis.

The WCC, in its statement, expresses solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples of Australia and recognises the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to live in traditional lands; maintain and enrich culture and ensure traditions are strengthened and passed on for generations to come.

The WCC urges the Australian Government to engage in proper consultation and negotiation processes which are genuinely inclusive of Aboriginal Peoples, which will better empower and enable them to identify their own aspirations, issues of concern and which will involve their full participation in creating and implementing solutions.
 
The statement also recognises that Australia has been criticised for Intervention measures by the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples as well as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and requests the Australian Government ensures that policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples comply with international conventions.

The Reverend. Tara Curlewis, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and an advisor for the WCC Central Committee said "This statement is very significant as it is in response to the Living Letters visit to Northern Territory communities. Members of the WCC Central Committee were shocked to hear what has happened in Australia in recent years. One leader said 'Surely this isn't happening in Australia? I thought Australia was better than this!'"   

Last week the NCCA Executive welcomed the WCC report and statement, the churches hope that Australia will adhere to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and continue to urge the Australian Government to end the Intervention.

The full statement is available at http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva-2011/report-on-public-issues/statement-on-the-situation-of-indigenous-peoples-of-australia.html

The Living Letters report is available at http://www.ncca.org.au/files/Natsiec/2495_LivingLettersReport_Beyond_Intervention_2010_f_lowres_r.pdf

Rev Tara Curlewis is available for Interview

Media Enquiries: 02 9299-2215