Saturday, Dec 20th

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Immigration news

UK urged to back convention to protect domestic workers

It "will promote domestic work as a valuable and respectable occupation"

The British government must stop dragging its feet and fully support a new international convention to protect domestic workers from abuse and slavery, a coalition of charities and Trade Unions has said.

Representatives from national governments have been meeting in Geneva from 1st June at the annual International Labour Organization (ILO) conference to discuss details of a new Domestic Worker Convention. The final vote on whether to create the Convention is due to take place on 15th June.  

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Europe should share responsibility for refugees arriving on its southern shores

PACE: States have “a clear moral and legal obligation to save persons in distress”

All Council of Europe member states have a “moral duty” to share responsibility with frontline Mediterranean states – such as Malta, Italy or Greece – for handling asylum-seekers and refugees arriving on Europe’s southern shores, PACE’s Migration Committee has said.

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Churches oppose Government’s decision to spend £3 billion on nuclear weapons

It’s "unaffordable, immoral and strategically unwise"

Church leaders have denounced the Government’s decision to spend at least £3 billion on a nuclear weapons system.

The Government has delayed a final vote on buying a replacement for the Trident weapons system until 2016, but on 18th May Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced his approval for the initial £3 billion phase of production.

Leaders from The Methodist Church, The Baptist Union and the United Reformed Church said the Government’s backing of a new nuclear weapons system was “unaffordable, immoral and strategically unwise”.  

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A world without hunger is possible

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu backs Oxfam's new global Grow campaign for a world without hunger

There are some problems so big and so entrenched it is easy to believe they will never be solved. Hunger is one of these problems.

I doubt if there is a single moment in our history when all human beings have had enough to eat. Even today, in a world where it is possible to communicate across thousands of miles at a touch of a button, eight million people face chronic food shortages in East Africa. Around the world close to 1 billion men, women and children will go to bed hungry tonight.   

Yet a lifetime of experience has taught me that there is no problem so great it cannot be solved, no injustice so deeply entrenched it cannot be overcome. And that includes hunger.

Hunger is not a natural phenomenon. It is a man made tragedy. People do not go hungry because there is not enough food to eat. They go hungry because the system which delivers food from the fields to our plates is broken.

And now in this new age of crisis - with increasingly severe and extreme weather and dwindling natural resources – feeding the world will get harder still.   

So how did we get here?  Our governments must shoulder a lot of the blame. Their policies and practices are propping up a broken system which benefits a few powerful companies and interest groups at the expense of the many.

They have spent billions of dollars on biofuels companies and rich country farmers but neglected the 500 million small farms which together feed one third of humanity. They have spent more than a decade debating climate change but pledged emissions reductions which put us on course for catastrophic warming. They have let the food markets get out of control and have denied women, who produce much of the world’s food, the right to land, resources and opportunities enjoyed by their male counterparts.

But the future is not set – it is ours to shape. On 1st June 2011, Oxfam launched its new global Grow campaign for a world without hunger. This is not based on the utopian musing of do-gooders and day dreamers. It is a very real plan based on the real achievements of forward thinking governments, companies and communities – for example the government and people of Brazil who together cut the number of hungry people by a half in just 15 years.

However it does require a totally different approach to the way we produce and share food.

Governments - especially the powerful G20 countries – must kick start the transformation. They must invest in poor producers and provide them the support they need to adapt to a changing climate. They must regulate volatile commodity markets and put an end to the policies which reward companies for turning food into engine fuel. And they must deliver a global climate deal to keep climate change in check.   

Of course many governments and companies will be resistant to change through habit, ideology or the pursuit of profit. It is up to us – you and me – to persuade them - by choosing food that’s produced fairly and sustainably, by cutting our carbon footprints and by joining with Oxfam and others to demand change. It is not going to be easy but nothing worth struggling for ever is.


By Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu  

Oxfam launches global Grow campaign to get rid of hunger

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Intensify efforts to promote peace, Churches told

Martin Luther King III: “All faiths can have a mandate for nonviolence in all of the Holy Scriptures”

Peace advocates from around the world relayed heartrending stories of violence and oppression during the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) held in Kingston, Jamaica. They also expressed their ongoing hope that a movement of peace will prevail.

The advocates who included religious leaders from the Middle East, India, Brazil and the USA, addressed the issue of violence from the perspective and need for peace within communities, and strengthening the dignity and rights of all.

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