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Media Releases

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

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.

As violence and unrest in Libya worsens, Act for Peace urges the Australian Government to increase its support for a global Arms Trade Treaty that would help prevent the flow of weapons into conflict zones and countries with poor human rights records.

 

Countries around the world, including some Commonwealth nations like the UK, must stop supplying arms to dictators like Colonel Gaddafi who use them against their own citizens. Australia, as the host of the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), has an opportunity to ensure all Commonwealth Governments support the development of a bullet-proof Arms Trade Treaty.

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

Generous giving by churches around Australia to the Christmas Bowl, the annual program of Act for Peace, will help people in war-torn communities worldwide to rebuild their lives.Credit: Nils Carstensen/DCA/ACT

Funds raised through the Christmas Bowl will support Act for Peace partners who are helping over one million people displaced by conflict, including in the fledgling nation of South Sudan. Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, said, “International support is needed to ensure long-term peace and stability in South Sudan.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011 17:23

Churches Support Flood Victims

Churches Support Flood Victims

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As the flood waters continue to rise the Churches have established appeals for the Queensland flood victims. Donations may be made through the Anglican Church Rockhampton Diocese, the Catholic Church through Vinnies Qld Flood Appeal, the Churches of Christ through Care Community Foundation, the Lutheran Church Queensland District, The Salvation Army in conjunction with Woolworths and Big W stores and the Uniting Church through Lifeline Queensland. Appeals have also been launched to support the 51 NSW communities recently declared natural disaster areas.

The National Council of Churches in Australia condemns the horrific attack perpetrated against the Coptic Orthodox Christians during the New Year’s Eve midnight mass in the Saints Church in Alexandria, Egypt.


At least 21 people are dead and many more injured following a bomb explosion outside the Church of Saint Mark and Saint Peter after the New Year Eve mass ended and people were filling out onto the street to return to their homes. 

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) joins with all Australians to express great concern for the many communities and people affected by the floods in NSW and Queensland. Reverend Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary, said “It is truly devastating to see flooding of this magnitude affecting so many towns first in NSW and now in Queensland. On behalf of the NCCA I extend our care, support and sympathy to the thousands who are affected by these floods, those who have lost their homes or possessions and the farmers who have lost crops or livestock.”

from the National Council of Churches in Australia

The following brief Christmas messages from many of Australia’s churches are shared with you in this final week of Advent 2010.

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A message of peace for all

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)