quinta-feira, 16 de abril de 2009

61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference

VIVAT members at the 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was held during 3-5 September 2008 at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France

For the past 60 years, the DPI/NGO Conference had been held at the UN’s New York Headquarters. The 61st Annual DPI/NGO Conference was in Paris, France, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It marked the first time in the Conference’s history that it was held outside of New York.
Goals of the Conference:
- To provide a forum for diverse actors, including civil society, governments, media, academia, and the private sector to discuss timely human rights issues and their role in addressing them; - To reflect on the challenges confronted by human rights organizations at the international, national and local levels and articulate measures to address those challenges; - To identify the most effective ways in which civil society is yielding a positive impact on the respect for human rights, and acknowledge those contributions; - To engage human rights defenders, victims of human rights violations, members of socially and economically marginalized communities, civil society from regions that are often underrepresented in UN fora, as well as youth, in informing the discussions around human rights; - To underscore the gap between existing policies for the protection and promotion of human rights and their implementation, and recommend ways to advance accountability; - To impact the awareness about human rights issues today among various sectors, including academia, media, the private sector and the broad public, targeting groups that are typically not informed by UN and NGO activities.

VIVAT Participation: Four members of VIVAT (one from New York and three from Europe) actively took part in this conferences. The conference provided the participants like VIVAT with a greater knowledge of measures and goals that can be achieved by working together with the United Nations and its partners to understand and reaffirm human rights for all.

The DPI/NGO Conference helped us to appreciate still further the centrality of issues related to Human Rights in development work and in our common mission. It also helped us to deepen our awareness of the importance of having personal contact with the grass-roots work of human rights defenders and those who are persecuted in various ways as a result of violations of their basic rights and responsibilities. The many important speakers at the conference brought this message home in their personal testimonies and in their very presence. We found it most inspiring to be able to see and listen to many prominent figures in the history of human rights and We are convinced that this personal experience is what helps us to deepen our own conviction and commitment.

The Paris Conference also deepened our awareness of the important part that NGOs play in the work of human rights, how this needs to be understood more and more, and also the importance of international institutions such as the United Nations, various treaties, covenants, International Law and the role of the International Criminal Court, especially in promoting accountability within sovereign states. UN conferences open many doors to networking with other committed people and organisations. They help us to respond to global issues, and introduce us to various movements.

The DPI/NGO Conference in Paris listened to the personal testimonies of many victims of human rights abuses as well as workers for human rights. The presence of Ambassador Stéphane Hessel, who was 30 years old when he participated in the drafting of the original Declaration on Human Rights made it an historical occasion. Stéphane made reference to René Cassin, Eleanor Roosevelt and others who were present at the drafting of the original declaration. It was a privilege to hear these first hand reports and to put a face on some of these historical people whom we have only read about before.

It was also a privilege to be present when Ingrid Betancourt addressed the Conference and told of her nearly seven years in captivity in Columbia. She spoke of the nature of human rights being self-evident even in countries where they have not yet been enshrined by law. We listened to debates between different actors in the field of human rights including instrumental figures in the drawing up of the Earth Charter, members of important organisations such as Human Rights Watch, UN Special Envoys, the Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and a host of other speakers whose lives have been dedicated to building a better world. It was immensely interesting to listen to these people and to have the opportunity to meet other participants and to share common interests and challenges.

On reflection we believe that we have been given a strong mandate to promote global action on behalf of the poor and persecuted

SSPS in AMERICA: Committed to Life

The III PANAM Assembly of Mission Animation (MA) and Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) was held from the 13th to the 18th September 2008 in the SSpS Provincial house, Ponta Grossa Brazil. Although the event takes place every three years, this particular Assembly was characterized by certain unique features in terms of the composition of participants, organization and direction setting.

THE PARTICIPANTS (45) Sisters representing a variety of apostolates like MA/JPIC, VIVAT International, education, formation, pastoral care and indigenous apostolate gave the Assembly a richness and depth that come from experience and expertise. Sr. M. Theresia joined the Assembly in its concluding moments. Sr. Agada Brand participated in the entire Assembly.
THE AIM of the Assembly was to achieve a more integrated and effective SSpS missionary presence in the Americas by mutual collaboration and networking among the Provinces and among coordinators of various areas.

THE METHODOLOGY AND PROCESS included input sessions on “Images of the Trinity and Images of Communion” , “Mission Today: dialogue ad intra and dialogue ad extra” , “Analysis of the Latin American situation in the light of the Document of the Aprecida” , and “Round table panels on relevant Latin American themes and concerns” . VIVAT International used the opportunity to make known its nature, aim and function to an otherwise little acquainted audience in terms of their familiarity with our NGO. With the help of guide questions for group discussions, through personal reflection and in open forums the Sisters explored the possibility of bringing about a new direction for the Americas. A half- day exposure in small groups to the frontier realities of Ponta Grossa and a subsequent reflection together on the experience helped the members to see for themselves the many faces of poverty in the society. Meaningful and creative liturgies, animated music and spontaneous expressions of communion and solidarity marked the event as uniquely Latin American in flavor.

STATEMENT, LINE OF ACTION AND STRATEGIES OF THE ASSEMBLY I shall give a gist of the Assembly Statement using a liberal translation. It reads: “As a community of missionary disciples, open to the Spirit and committed to the poor and the excluded, in the light of the Word of God and in an attitude of constant conversion, we seek to respond to the realities of today, thus contributing towards a better humanization and reconciliation. For this, we need a formation that is integral, ongoing, holistic and in and for mission especially in frontier situations”.
We hope to materialize this dream by: 1. Promoting joint planning 2. Implementing network and collaboration
The Strategies include inter alia,
Taking more seriously our responsibility as members, towards VIVAT International and networking with other NGOs and institutions which are in keeping with our charism.
Encouraging professional training for our sisters and communication and participation both
internal and external.
Proper planning, execution and evaluation of our work at personal and community
levels. The Assembly ended generating a lot of enthusiasm and optimism for our mission in the Americas. What will not end, however, is enduring determination and concerted action, it is hoped.

ASPAC Workshop in Bali

The SSpS Asia Pacific (ASPAC) Workshop on Women Migration and Trafficking in Person was held in SOVERDI Bali Wacana, Indonesia on September 1-20, 2008. It was a very relevant and challenging seminar-workshop with 26 participants coming from 16 Provinces/Regions. Among the participants were Felicie and Atty. Myrna Pagsuberon (from Phil.-South), Carmelita as member of the coordinating team and Evelyn Jose, SSpS (from Phil.-North). An active presence was the CLT representative, Pauline Pereira, SSpS.

This ASPAC seminar-workshop was the outflow of the meeting of ASPAC Provincials and Regional in 2006. They identified and expressed their interest to address within three years the three concerns in the ASPAC region, namely: formation, HIV/AIDS and women. For formation, the ASPAC assembly was held on September 2006 in Bangalore, India. For HIV/AIDS, in Goroka, PNG last February 2007.The current ASPAC Chair, Shalini Mathew, who delivered the opening address, gave the background and rationale for this seminar on women particularly Women Migration and Trafficking, its connectedness to the SSpS origin and history and especially to the recent chapter documents. Pauline who centered her message on migration as being part and parcel of the SSpS life as missionaries, reviewed the challenge given by the recent Gen. Chapter direction “to journey in the direction of being women who, mutually touched and formed by realities of life, especially that of the poor, join with them in a search for ways to be co-creators of a society rooted in the gospel values.”The highlights of the first week of the workshop were the two inputs, the reporting from each Province/Region and a trip to places of Art and Culture were Bali women were involved. “Called as Women to celebrate our Womanhood”was shared by Anna, PK followed by a personal sharing of her companion Sulastri, an empowered young woman and Village Leader. The input “Reality of Women in the Globalized World”(part1) was given by Mr. Dasgupta.

The participants spent the 2nd week for exposure in five separate places, experiencing a taste of “leaving one’s comfort zones” and learning from the prostituted women and migrant workers who came back from abroad. Shared reflection, analysis and relevant inputs from NGOs, an SSpS and a Religious Priest captured the exposure-experience. Pauline guided the group in the process of synthesizing the inputs, province/region reports, exposure program and other relevant reflections, audio-visual aids on “Women Migrant Workers and Trafficking in Persons” and linked to the 13th General Chapter Directions.

Having seen how important networking in responding to the problem of trafficking is, Atty. Myrna was asked to share her experience of WINGS.
To prepare for the plan of action scheduled for the last days, there were country-group discussions and sharing. The last days were used for discussion, sharing and action-plan on three levels: Province/country, ASPAC level and Congregational level. After all the plans were presented, Carmelita, who facilitated the sharing of expectations at the start of the workshop, led the group to an evaluation of the whole workshop. In general the expectations were realized. To wrap up the whole workshop, Pauline invited the participants to a meaningful reflection and review of the 3-week journey, recognizing the value of each one’s/each Province’/Region’s participation, identifying significant moments of grace and insight and the joy experienced by all in the common search for a relevant response to the urgent call of the Spirit to be on the side of the poor and suffering women and girls especially in ASPAC zone.

(By Felicie Arcaya, SSpS)

Joint Workshop of VIVAT Indonesia

A joint workshop was held at Bello-Timor, Indonesia in November 19 – 21, 2008 which was attended by 26 participants including 8 Indonesian’s SVD and SSpS Provincials, 2 SSpS Regionals of Kalimantan and Timor Leste, 16 JPIC SVD-SSpS Coordinators and activists both from Indonesia and Timor Leste. The workshop aimed to consider the possibilities of establishing a foundation which is legally recognized by state. The initiative came from Indonesian’s SVD JPIC coordinators who attended the JPIC Coordinators Assembly of SVD ASPAC at Denpasar, Bali in early December 2007.

Sharing of and reflecting on personal experiences of JPIC practices, the JPIC coordinators realized some difficulties they faced in JPIC activities and ministries especially when ones did an advocacy to public policies. Through a consultative process, the SVD and SSpS Provincials and Regionals of Indonesia and Timor Leste have finally approved to establish a foundation called VIVAT Indonesia. VIVAT Indonesia is necessary not just for a legal status recognized by state which may guarantee a legal protection for our JPIC activists. It is also needed for empowering and coordinating the JPIC movement at the province level as well as to bridge the common concerns both of VIVAT International and of JPIC activists at the country and grassroots level.
Based in Jakarta, VIVAT Indonesia has its operational region in Indonesia and Timor Leste as well. Focusing on the Human Rights issues, VIVAT Indonesia identifies five areas of main concerns including the eradication of poverty, ecology, gender equality, human trafficking and migrant workers.VIVAT Indonesia will officially be launched in January 15, 2009 at closing ceremony of remembering 100 years of the death of Arnold Janssen and Josef Freinademetz. Inspired by this Centennial Year, VIVAT Indonesia Foundation is particularly dedicated to St. Arnold Janssen and St. Josef Freinademetz.

Paul Rahmat, SVD

quarta-feira, 15 de abril de 2009

DIPLOMASI-Konferensi Interfaith Dialogue Italia

Pada tgl. 4 Maret lalu Kementrian Luar Negri RI mengadakan konferensi Dialog Agama dengan Kementrian Luar Negri Italia di Roma bertajuk “Unity in Diversity: The culture of Coexistence in Indonesia” (Il modello indonesiano per una società del convivere).

Hadir Menlu Hassan Wirajuda, Prof. Hasyim Muzadi, President of the Nahldatul Ulama (NU); Prof. Bahtiar Effendi, Director of Political Affairs of Muhammadiyah; Archbishop Martinus D. Situmorang, President of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KWI); Prof. Siti Musdah Mulia, President of the Indonesian Conference on Religion for Peace (ICRP); Prof. Azyumardi Azra, Decant of the Syarif Hidayatullah University; Mr. Philip K. Wijaya, General Secretary of the Buddhist Council dan penulis terkenal dan Rektor UIN Jakarta, Komarudin Hidayat.

Dalam konferensi ini Pater Markus Solo, SVD di wawancarai oleh para wartawan
mengenai o tema dan hasilnya sebagai berikut:

Reformasi Dialog Islam - Kristen Merupakan Fenomena Menarik

Sejauh pengamatan saya pribadi, walaupun saya bekerja di luar negeri, yaitu di Vatikan dan kebetulan juga menangani dialog Kristen-Islam di Asia, saya melihat bahwa Indonesia berada dalam posisi yang tepat, artinya Indonesia sadar akan pentingnya dialog antar agama sebagai strategi untuk mempromosikan dan memperdalam ko-eksistensi dari masyarakat plural yang ada di Indonesia.

Saya yakin ini merupakan suatu strategi yang sangat penting, dimana saya melihat bahwa ini bukan suatu pilihan, tetapi merupakan suatu keharusan. Kesadaran ini sudah muncul di berbagai kalangan masyarakat Indonesia, baik Muslim, Kristen maupun agama-agama lainnya.

Saya melihat bahwa dialog antar agama merupakan suatu hal yang sangat penting yang dikembangkan dimana-mana didalam masyarakat Indonesia, dan hendaknya ini merupakan suatu kesadaran baru yang terus dipupuk menjadi prinsip bangsa kita bahwa dialog adalah sesuatu hal yang sangat penting karena merupakan tuntutan untuk masyarakat Indonesia.

Dari kantor pusat agama Katolik di Vatikan, kami melihat bahwa dialog antara Kristen dan Islam, setelah 1400 tahun lahirnya Islam, mengalami sebuah evolusi yang sangat menarik. Ada hal-hal bagus yang menarik yang dikembangkan, dimana inisiatif dialog dibuat disini, Italia dan kemudian di Madrid, Spanyol dan dimana-mana. Termasuk dalam hal ini keterbukaan dari Raja Saudi Arabia untuk mengorganisir dan mempromosikan dialog antar agama ini.

Terjadi reformasi-reformasi kecil, dimana terkait dengan dialog antar agama ini, beliau datang sendiri ke Vatikan untuk bertemu dengan Sri Paus pada November 2008. Semuanya itu merupakan suatu perkembangan yang sangat positif, dimana untuk kami di Vatikan, pemahaman perdamaian dan harmoni merupakan suatu perkembangan yang membuat kami untuk lebih membuka diri dan mencari kemungkinan-kemungkinan baru untuk bisa bertemu dan mempromosikan dialog.

Untuk tahun ini misalnya, Dewan kami di Vatikan memprogramkan kunjungan ke Indonesia yang akan menjadi kunjungan pertama secara resmi Vatikan ke Indonesia. Kunjungan ini untuk melihat dari dekat, sejauh mana umat Kristen dan umat Islam serta umat agama-agama lain di Indonesia mempromosikan dialog, sejauh mana kerukunan umat beragama itu menjadi bagian dan keharusan bagi kehidupan masyarakat kita di Indonesia.

Segala sesuatu yang dilakukan oleh kelompok minoritas yang bertendensi kekerasan seperti misalnya aksi-aksi terorisme yang menelan begitu banyak korban jiwa dari orang-orang yang tidak bersalah, tentunya itu sangat disesalkan. Hal itu sebetulnya tidak boleh terjadi terutama kepada orang-orang yang mengaku beragama, karena Tuhan adalah kebaikan, jadi mengapa kebaikan itu diekspresikan dengan menyakiti orang lain. Itu merupakan suatu
hal yang kontradiktif didalam pemahaman tentang agama itu sendiri.

Tetapi kami dari pihak dialog antar agama di Vatikan menggalang kerjasama dengan orang-orang yang berkehendak baik, goodwill people untuk memupuk perdamaian dan bekerja keras bersama kami agar dialog dan perdamaian menjadi bagian integral dari kehidupan bermasyarakat. Dan syukur bahwa orang-orang yang berkehendak baik atau katakanlah orang-orang yang moderat itu masih menempati posisi yang kuat sebagai mayoritas di seluruh dunia.

Dengan mereka kami mencari dan mengembangkan strategi, mencari jalan-jalan baru untuk bekerjasama mempromosikan dialog, karena kami menemukan kesulitan untuk bisa langsung masuk ke kelompok-kelompok minoritas yang ekstrim. Dalam agama Kristen ada juga kelompok-kelompok seperti itu, hanya mereka tidak menggunakan kekerasan secara lisan atau langsung.

Kami sangat senang bahwa kami selalu mendapat partner kerja dari pihak Muslim yang berkehendak baik, dimana mereka termasuk
didalam kelompok mayoritas yang bisa diajak bekerjasama untuk saling memahami. Tentunya dialog itu sendiri berbeda-beda levelnya, dan kita tidak mengatakan bahwa dialog itu mudah, namun pada level-level tertentu kita betul-betul saling memahami dan tahu bahwa kita mempunyai concern yang sama, dan kita bekerjasama bergandengan tangan untuk mempromosikan dialog perdamaian dan harmoni.

Tentu saja ini suatu ide yang sangat bagus, dimana didalam agama Katolik, kami semua yang berkecimpung didalam dialog antar agama ini mengenal adanya jenis-jenis dialog, teori, dan juga praktikalnya. Jadi ini merupakan suatu aspek yang sangat nyata dari sebuah dialog dalam level praktis. Misalnya kami kemarin mengadakan pertemuan dan kerjasama yang sangat menarik dengan World Could Islamic Society dari Libya, yang bergerak dibidang penanganan krisis secara langsung.

Jadi mereka juga mempunyai kehendak baik melakukan kerjasama dengan kita untuk membangun suatu wadah yang baik dan permanent didalam menangani berbagai krisis. Itu merupakan dialog yang sangat menyentuh hakikat kehidupan manusia, yang seringkali terjadi berbagai hal ini dan itu, namun demikian sebagai orang yang beriman dari berbagai macam agama, kita bisa bekerjasama dengan cepat untuk bisa menangani berbagai krisis.

Ini merupakan suatu hal yang sangat bagus, dan mungkin baru dikembangkan dalam level lokal, karena sampai sekarang belum ada suatu organisasi internasional yang bisa mengayomi bagian dunia yang lebih luas. Kalau seandainya organisasi semacam ini ada, maka merupakan suatu hal yang sangat membantu, karena kalau terjadi krisis, baik itu krisis kemanusiaan, konflik, bencana alam dan sebagainya, kita bisa bergerak cepat secara bersama-sama.[]