End refugee travel loan repayment

We all want refugees to settle well in Canada. That’s why many SK congregations and communities have sponsored so often over the years. But Canada currently asks refugees to pay back the money that the government spent on their travel to Canada.

The evidence shows that these immigration travel loans have a negative impact on refugees’ ability to settle well. The pressure to pay them back can make it difficult to pay for necessities, push refugees to find jobs before they’ve completed their language training, and add unneeded stress to already stressful transitions.

The government knows this–which is why they just stopped charging interest on the loans. But it would cost just 40 cents per Canadian to stop asking refugees to repay these loans entirely. Please join ecumenical partners in asking the government to end the loan system. Please read more here.

Advertisements

What Makes Food Good gathering May 23

This is your invitation to What Makes Food Good?, an open gathering on May 23 2018, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM near Cochin, SK. All ages and people of all backgrounds welcome! We’ll share in a hands-on day focused on ecumenical theological and spiritual reflection on sustainable food; a look at the food systems that feed and employ us; workshops; and farm work tailored to your abilities. Farm lunch included! Please note: you will need to bring your own drinking water, and ride sharing is encouraged.  And we’ll post more info right here as plans progress. 

Where: Largo Farm on Treaty Six territory, next to Moosomin First Nation; near Cochin and Murray Lake, a half hour north of the Battlefords.
Registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VXGQ6RP  Registering well in advance helps us plan the workshops! Cost: $25, waived if cost is any barrier. More info: contact Julie Graham at the Conference office.

Download the PDF flyer here. Or, right click on the photo and save/ share. And check out our Facebook event here

This event is organized by the Sustainable Food group of the Local Global Advocacy Network (SK Conference) and by the Largo Farm community, with help from Nettie Wiebe. It’s one contribution to a conversation on how we in SK can grow sustainable food and create sustainable food systems.

Children in military detention

Over the past several weeks, the high-profile detention of Ahed Tamimi has provided a glimpse into what it means to be a child held in the Israeli military detention system facing prosecution in military courts that lack basic due process protections.

This week, Canadian MP Hélène Laverdière sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland highlighting Ahed was just “one of many troubling cases of military detention of children under the Israeli occupation.” She urged the Canadian government to press Israel to comply with international law around its treatment of Palestinian child detainees.

Read the letter from MP Hélène Laverdière

In the letter, Laverdière noted the widespread and systematic ill-treatment Palestinian children arrested by Israeli forces encounter in the Israeli military detention system. The letter demands that the Israeli government “uphold its obligations under the [United Nations] Convention on the Rights of the Child,” and urged Minister Freeland to press the Israeli government to “fully comply” with international law.

In Canada? Sign and share our petition demanding Canadian leadership hold Israeli authorities accountable!

Disturbingly, Ahed’s detention and prosecution in Israel’s military court system is not exceptional, but provides a clear example of how Israeli military law and military courts are used to control an occupied Palestinian population. Between February and November 2017, an average of 310 Palestinian children were in the Israeli prison system each month for “security offenses,” according to Israel Prison Service (IPS) data. Among them were an average of 60 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

Ill-treatment of Palestinian child detainees by Israeli forces is widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the Israeli military detention system. Three out of four Palestinian children experience some form of physical violence following arrest.

Israeli military law provides no right to an attorney during interrogation, so Palestinian children like Ahed often typically arrive to interrogation rooms bound, blindfolded, frightened, and sleep deprived. Children often give confessions after verbal abuse, threats, physical and psychological violence that in some cases amounts to torture.

In a military detention system where fair trial guarantees are denied and Palestinian children overwhelmingly experience some form of physical violence at the hands of Israeli forces, it is clear that detaining and prosecuting Palestinian children in Israeli military courts has little to do with justice.

As the situation appears to be deteriorating for children living under Israeli military occupation, we must remember an increasing number of lawmakers across the globe now recognize that failing to demand human rights, justice and equality for Palestinian children perpetuates injustice and a military occupation with no end in sight.

As we move forward in 2018, I know we will continue to strengthen our movement and efforts to expose widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children in the Israeli military detention system. We’ll be sharing new actions for Canada and the United States soon, so stay tuned.

Brad Parker
Attorney & International Advocacy Officer
Defense for Children International – Palestine
Co-leader of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign

Lenten resources by Palestinian Christians

The Lenten season is fast approaching. Friends of Sabeel North America is pleased to offer a variety of resources for an illuminating experience of reflection, prayer, and advocacy. Read on for links to these free resources.

A little background: The Sabeel Centre for Liberation Theology in Jerusalem is an initiative of Palestinian Christians living under Israeli military occupation. It’s a long time partner of the United Church of Canada. In Canada, the Canadian Friends of Sabeel also offers resources and support related to Sabeel’s important ministry and witness.

A webinar for Lent: Land of Jesus, People of God, Words of Witness

Thursday, February 8, 2018
10:00am Pacific, 12:00pm Central, 1:00pm Eastern

Register here

Join Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, Dr. Monica Burnett and FOSNA Executive Director Tarek Abuata for this Lenten webinar! Speakers will address issues on the ground in Palestine, introduce a new educational Biblical resource for congregations, and provide ideas for advocacy stemming from Palestinian Liberation Theology.

A Lenten Study Guide:
What Would They Say Now? Encounters with People of the Bible

Download here

This Lenten study booklet, based on Biblical narratives, is designed to facilitate reflection, sharing, and action. The six chapters offer resources for historical and devotional Bible study. These chapters, appropriate for congregational or individual use, are accessible to all, including those with minimal exposure to Palestine justice issues. Suggestions are provided for justice advocacy.

Email Prayer Series: Lenten Illuminations

Sign up here

Subscribers to the FOSNA Weekly News Digest/Wave of Prayer email will receive weekly meditations based on the Wave of Prayer from Sabeel in Jerusalem. These meditations will focus on developments in Palestine and here in the United States. To subscribe to FOSNA’s Weekly News Digest, sign up here.

Allow the Lenten season to deepen your connection, vision and energy for grounded Christian justice witness.

 

Diplomatic talks on Korea-Women’s perspectives

Earlier in January 2018, the seemingly sudden dialogue between North and South Korea made headlines around the world, and were a welcome change from mutual threats of mass destruction from the US and North Korea.

For perspectives that weren’t making into the headlines, especially women’s perspectives, have a look at CBC’s interview with Patricia Talbot, Team Leader, Church in Partnership; Asia Partnerships.

As she says, and as this article from the National Observer notes, women have enormous resources and key perspectives to offer peace talks, but so often they’re cut out of the process.

A group of about 20 Korean and Canadian women, with a banner saying Women's Leadership in the Korean Peace Process.

The women’s delegation in Vancouver, January 2018.

Continue reading

100 Years of Balfour Declaration is Not Something to Celebrate

MP Sponsored Petition to Government calls Canada to live up to obligations to UN Resolutions

On November 2, 2017, it will be a century since the road for colonization of Palestine was set.

Recognizing a century since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the Partition Plan and approaching 70 years since the Nakba, 50 years of occupation of the territory taken in the 1967 set-back, and 10 years seize on Gaza, we are pleased that Alexandre Boulerice, MP to Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP, Quebec has sponsored the following petition to the government of Canada.

It will be posted until January 27, 2018.   Please sign and share through your networks.  A majority of Canadians have said they support sanctions against Israeli war crimes (EKOS 2017).  This is our chance to have Canadians express we expect our government to uphold its own international obligations under United Nation Resolutions, and fulfill its responsibility under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which requires the convention to be respected in all circumstances.

Sign by clicking here.

The PETITION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA reads:
Whereas:

  • The Balfour Declaration, November 1917 proclaimed “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”;
  • Today over 7 million Palestinians continue to be denied the right to return under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948) which has been reiterated annually (most recently by UN General Assembly Resolution 71/91, 2016) — a right provided to all other refugees irrespective of country since 1950;
  • The colonization of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, continues in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 446 (1979) and 465 (1980), although these resolutions remain aligned with Canada’s official foreign policy, the Canadian government has not spoken out to condemn the recent aggressive legislation and actions by the Israeli government which further contravene these resolutions as well as the recent UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016);
  • This colonization continues 50 years later, in contravention to numerous clauses of the Fourth Geneva Convention; and
  • Canada is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention which obliges all parties to ensure respect for the Convention by other parties “in all circumstances.”

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to live up to its role as a peacemaker and honest broker by upholding its own international obligations related to United Nations GA 194 (1948), and UNSC 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 446 (1979), 465 (1980) and 2334 (2016); and fulfilling its responsibilities as a UN member state and signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Sign by clicking here.  Share  WIDELY.  

YouTube Video of 2017 James Graff Memorial Lecture with Professor Michael Lynk

Professor Michael Lynk,
UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine spoke on

“50 Years and Counting:
Legality of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine.”

Watch the lecture on YouTube at https://youtu.be/dxFxbbc52u8

On November 29th, 2017, Canadian Friends of Sabeel (CFOS) and co-sponsor Emmanuel College of Victoria University at the University of Toronto  hosted the annual James Graff Memorial Lecture to commemorate the UN declared International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

For more information, visit the new CFOS website: www.friendsofsabeel.ca