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Prayer and Solidarity

  1. WSCF & GMKI Call for Solidarity & Dialogue for Peace in Indonesia

    World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) and Indonesian Student Christian Movement (GMKI) Strongly Condemn the Bomb Attacks in Cities of Indonesia and Call for Solidarity and Dialogue for Peace

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

    We are shocked, outraged and concerned about the series of bomb attacks in the cities of Indonesia killing many innocent lives. On May 8, Mako Brimbob Rutan attack killed 5 police personnel, three Churches of Surabaya were targeted named – Church of Santa Maria, Indonesian Christian Church, & the Pentecostal Church were attacked through suicide bombings on May 13, killing 13 civilians and injuring 41, followed by another suicide bombing on the same day in Sidoarjo killing 7 civilians, on May 14, yet another suicide bombing at the Surabaya Mapolresta Office injuring 4 police personnel and 6 civilians. The sequel of the bomb attacks has certainly created a deep terror and trauma in the hearts and minds of people of Indonesia. These violent attacks are reported as ISIS-inspired bombings.

    We the World Student Christian Federation stand in solidarity with the people of Indonesia and strongly condemn the heinous act of violence against the peace-loving people and the community. We are deeply concerned about the extremist groups targeting families and innocent children and youth to carry out their act of crime against humanity.

    We uphold the innocent young children in our prayers who were misused by the radicals are equally victims of the system and radical teachings in the name of God. People of Indonesia have been coexisting peacefully for centuries by upholding the principles and values of respecting and embracing diversity. No doubt, the people of Indonesia came to streets in huge numbers to show their solidarity and to convey their message to the world that the land of Indonesia cannot be used as a breeding ground for extremism.

    We the student community join hands with the peace lovers and seek solidarity of alliances to restore peace in the region as:

    • We express our deepest condolences to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones both civilians and public personnel during the series of bomb attacks and continue to uphold the people in our prayers who are traumatized and going through a healing process
    • We invite the Christian faith community to initiate interfaith dialogues to respect and embrace diversity for sustainable peace in the region and to dispel the politics of terror and violence
    • We continue to uphold the police personnel, activists, volunteers, individuals, civil society and faith-based organizations who provide security and involved in the rescue operations and promoting peace and harmony in the country
    • We believe that the government of Indonesia will provide extra protection to children and youth to protect their precious lives from the extremist groups
    • We ask religious leaders of the world to continue playing an active role in combating terrorism in their regions through constructive dialogues with people of other faiths and communities involved in promoting peace
    • We ask our global family of the World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) to pray for victims who are still under trauma, care/healing and take initiatives in restoring peace and harmony in the country

    The people of Indonesia and the world who believe in peace, diversity, and coexistence stood in solidarity against radicalism and extremism as they say in one voice:

    #WeAreNotAffraid

    As we envision a world of peace, justice, and harmony, we say this prayer in remembering the people of Indonesia:

    • May we be empowered by God’s unconditional love to dismantle the politics of terror and violence and promote peace, love, care, and compassion to one another
    • May we be enabled to see and recognize God’s image in our neighbors and respect the differences and embrace diversity
    • May the God of life, lead and strengthen us in solidarity to respond to the discrimination against people, communities, and nations and inspire us to transform our world as we envision to create a violence-free world for all.

    Amen

    Be reassured of our prayers and solidarity. Remain in God’s presence and prayers meditating His words.

    The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

    See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before Me. Isaiah 49:16

    Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

    May 15, 2018

    Sahat Martin Philip

    Chairperson Indonesia SCM

    HRJPC

    Human Rights Justice & Peace Committee (WSCF Asia Pacific)

     Georgine Kengne Djeutane

    Chairperson WSCF Global

    Attached: Statement by Indonesia SCM (GMKI) and photos Joint Statement

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    June 5th, 2018 7:29 pm | Continue Reading
  2. Stop the massacre! Freedom & justice for the Palestinian people!

    STOP THE MASSACRE! FREEDOM AND JUSTICE FOR THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE!
    An Appeal from World Student Christian Federation and the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement

    Since March 30th, the people of Gaza have been exercising their right to protest by marching for the right to return to their homes. The homes from which they were forcefully expelled to make room for the state of Israel. These land grabs were used to create Israeli settlements as a result of population transfers which under article 7 of the Rome statute constitutes as ‘crimes against humanity’, resulting in an ethnic cleanse of Palestinians from the land. In 1948 the UN passed resolution 194 agreeing that refugees should have the right to return to their villages, a resolution which Israel continues to ignore.

    Since the beginning of the Great Return March, Israeli forces have killed at least 111 Palestinians and wounded about 12,000 people. The worst of these days took place the same day that the US Embassy was moved from Tel Aviv, the recognized capital of Israel, to Jerusalem, as the US recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On this day, Monday 14th of May, 62 Palestinians were killed with around 2,700 injured.

    The US announced their complete support and alliance to Israel and spoke of the importance of human rights to both the US and Israel. They spoke about this as less than 80 kilometers away, 62 unarmed civilians were being killed. These events took place the day before Nakba Day. Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe and this day marks the 70th anniversary of the expulsion of over 750,000 Palestinians from their homes. Israel celebrates this as their Independence Day.

    • We condemn the Israeli systematic targeting of the Palestinian civilians and violating the international Humanitarian Law which mounts up to a crime against humanity and equally denounce the complicity of the US Administration in these violations and the way the UN is made unable to work for justice and peace in the region because of the American hegemony and veto.
    • We ask you to stand in solidarity with the Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement and with Palestinian people to condemn the State of Israel for their crimes against humanity, their illegal land grabs and population transfers. We hope that the international community will not simply say “this is bad” and later turn away to ignore the injustices and violation of rights of the our people. We ask you to stand in solidarity with us and to fight for our human rights and the right of people to live in full dignity.
    • We ask you to protest these Israeli crimes and set up, join demonstrations to show your support and solidarity to the people of Palestine in their pursuit for justice and freedom. Write to your government and ask them lodge a diplomatic protest to Israeli’s actions to the UN and make the Israeli Ambassador assigned in your country accountable to show that your country does not condone human rights violations.

    Palestine Youth Ecumenical Movement (PYEM)

    Georgine Kengne Djuetane (sgd)

    Chairperson
    World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
    16 May 2018

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    June 5th, 2018 6:44 pm | Continue Reading
  3. Universal Day of Prayer For Students (UDPS), 18th February

    Dear SCMers, Senior Friends and Friends,

    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    We are pleased share with you the Universal Day of Prayer for Students (UDPS) 2018 guide. Please find attached the English version. This year, we invite you to pray together, organize bible study sessions and group discussions on the theme on Ecological Justice “Embracing the Challenge: A Different World Is Possible,” using this guide. This UDPS guide contains worship/liturgical material, songs, bible study guides and student’s reflections from our Latin America and the Caribbean movements on the theme.

    Our chosen theme this year speaks of our conviction and hope as a WSCF community that despite the challenges of climate change and the result of the continuing exploitation of our ecology, there is a different world that we can build, a world that is just, equitable and sustainable for all. It will only be possible if we embrace the challenge of Ecological Justice, of doing our share at the personal and communal level to change our consumerist lifestyle, to protect our environment from predation and extractive activities and to speak truth to power.

    Finally, let us come together in prayer as a global fellowship through the UDPS to confess our complicity to the destruction of our ecology, seek forgiveness for our sins against the environment and to pray for God’s guidance and thanksgiving for the gift of the life and the Oikoumene. We invite you to share this UDPS material to your members and churches.

    This year’s UDPS Guide was prepared by our colleagues from the WSCF Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region, led by our Executive for LAC and Director for Ecological Justice Program, Marcelo Leites.  Please get in touch with Marcelo:  and visit their website: http://www.fumec-alc.org to learn more about our work on Ecological Justice. They have wonderful resource materials and information you are welcome to share. Muchas gracias a todos!

    In Christ,

    Necta Montes, General Secretary

    Marcelo Leites Regional Executive for LAC and Director for Ecological Justice  Program

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    February 14th, 2018 6:51 pm | Continue Reading
  4. Statement of concern on the situation of the Rohingyas of Myanmar

    WSCF Europe endorses the statement of concern released by the Churches Witnessing with Migrants (CWWM) and calls for international action with regards to the situation of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, and for our SCMs and other supporters to share this call and engage in any activities focused on raising awareness of the situation and/or providing relief to those at risk.

    CHURCHES WITNESSING WITH MIGRANTS (CWWM) is an international tripartite network of grassroots migrants, migrant-serving groups and organizations, and varied religious and faith-based institutions dedicated to the proposition that all human beings have inherent, inviolable human dignity and protected human rights. Forced migration is a violation of human rights and a denial of the inherent dignity of migrants, refugees and all uprooted peoples. CWWM is committed to eliminating the conditions that create forced and enforced migration, especially the root causes and historic injustices, and their contemporary manifestations, that perpetuate such conditions.

    Please read and share the below statement.

    Truth is lacking, and whoever turns from evil is despoiled. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. Isaiah 59:15

    Recent violence in Myanmar has seen security forces torch and raze to the ground whole Rohingya villages, including the murder of men, women and children who are fleeing. More than 600,000 Rohingyas have now fled over the border to neighboring Bangladesh. The targeting of Rohingyas by state forces in Myanmar, due to their religion and ethnicity, has been so systematic that a growing international consensus suggests that the acts of the state forces amount to genocide and ethnic cleansing.

    At the hands of the Myanmar government and military, the Rohingya have experienced a long history of brutal discrimination, denial of basic human rights, limitations on the freedom of movement, lack of access to education and basic services, routine forced labor, land confiscation and forced relocation.

    The Myanmar government has attempted to deny the very existence of the Rohingya. The legitimate claim of the Rohingya people being part of the Myanmar nation, including claims to their ancestral lands within Myanmar have been dismissed by the state. The use of the word “Rohingya” has been banned in the country. For the Myanmar government, the Rohingya are aliens who have no legitimate claim to citizenship.

    The Rohingya crisis is one among many where people are forced to move. Something particular to the Rohingya is that in their country of origin they are made invisible and rendered stateless. These are complicated even more in the countries of transit.

    The Churches Witnessing With Migrant (CWWM) affirms that all human rights are rights of migrants and refugees. We may not all be migrants and refugees, but we are all human beings laying claim to the same human rights that are equally the rights of migrants and refugees. The safeguards and protections we afford to refugees, migrants and displaced peoples speak to that common dignity in humanity that human rights are founded on (1).

    Pope Francis stressed recently that Rohingyas, as all of humanity, were created in the image of God. For CWWM, migrants and refugees are strangers waiting to be welcomed with hospitality and into our neighborhood. In the compassion of Jesus, we cannot rest until we turn strangers into neighbors and friends. Our commitment is to the abundant and sustainable life which is God’s purpose for all (2).

    CWWM calls on the global community, especially the churches, to show compassion and to contribute to the humanitarian effort to meet the immediate needs of the Rohingya people.

    We call on international humanitarian organizations and churches to strengthen their commitment to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation while their status from a situation of statelessness to refugee classification is being worked out by international refugee agencies.

    Meantime, solidarity, support and encouragement are due to the countries of transit and their peoples as they host the dislocated Rohingyas.

    CWWM is deeply concerned about the recently brokered deal for the repatriation of displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh back to Myanmar. We are concerned that despite the agreement, the government of Myanmar will not welcome back the Rohingyas as legitimate Myanmar citizens.

    In the brutal violence that preceded their fleeing into Bangladesh, many Rohingyas were not able to retain identification documents. Should repatriation occur, there is legitimate concern that returning Rohingya refugees will not be allowed to return to their own homes and instead relocated into marginal and uninhabitable locations.

    We also call on the community of nations to sanction Myanmar through available international mechanisms under the auspices of the United Nations so that this scourge of forced displacement and ethnic cleansing will end, and the system of apartheid that the government of Myanmar has established will be dismantled before it gets worse.

    The ongoing consultations towards a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration is one important venue for all countries and peoples of the world to address the global crisis of forced movement of migrants and refugees.

    We must reach out to UN member states and related multilateral bodies negotiating the compact’s text to nsure that the situation of statelessness and forced movement due to religious persecution and ethnic leansing that the Rohingya unjustly suffer are sufficiently covered.

    The recently-announced decision by the United States government to withdraw from the Global Compact on Migration negotiating process alarms us. The US role in the negotiations is crucial given its policies and perspectives that bear heavily on the situation of migrants and refugees.

    We urge all UN member states and the international community to be steadfast in their commitment to lift up and better the lives and conditions of migrants and refugees.

    Let us thus work together to uphold their God-given dignity and worth by ensuring that their human rights are respected and protected.

    As we celebrate the season of the Advent, let us recall the ministry of Jesus to “preach the good news to the poor, give sight to the blind, set the captives free” (Luke 4:18) by being in solidarity with the Rohingyas.

    23 December 2017

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    (1) ‘Speaking Our Truths as Migrants and Refugees: Claiming and Mobilizing Our Narratives to Address Forced Migration and Enforced Movement, Dhaka Assertions’ (2016), in Turning Strangers Into Friends: Hospitality, Mercy, Justice—A Workbook on the Framework Documents of the Churches Witnessing With Migrants (CWWM), Bautista, Liberato, C. (ed.), National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Quezon City, 2017.

    (2)’The Communique of The Asia Consultation on “Human Trafficking and Forced Migration: A Call for Decent Labourand a Living Wage” a pre-event to the 2017 Asia Mission Conference’, 9-11 October 2017.

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    January 22nd, 2018 6:48 pm | Continue Reading
  5. WSCF LAC Call for Solidarity: Support the persons affected by the hurricane Irma in Cuba

    WSCF Latin America and Caribbean (WSCF LAC) have recently released a call for solidarity asking for support towards dealing with the devastating effects of the hurricane Irma across several cities in Cuba.

    The hurricane hit the Republic of Cuba on the 7th September and it is known to be one of the strongest hurricanes ever registered in the Atlantic, with its wind speed reaching up to 295 kilometers per hour. The hurricane led to major human lives and material losses in various countries and islands across the Caribbean.

    For Cuba, the hurricane meant:

    • 12 out of the 15 Cuban provinces were strongly affected;
    • over 1 738 000 people were forced to evacuate their homes and cities, with many living either at their relatives and friends or seeking shelter in evacuation centers;
    • in the energy sector, the cooling system of the power plant Antonio Guiteras, from Matanzas, was destroyed, whilst other 15 transmission lines were severely damaged, and another 2039 kilometers of line were affected;
    • 516 hospitals and health centers were damaged;
    • large amount of damages in the agricultural sector, particularly in the area of poultry farming;
    • irrecoverable damages in the touristic sector , one of Cuba’s industries that contributes the most to the economy.

    In response to the hurricane’s devastation, the Movimiento Estudiantil de Cuba (MEC) has mobilised its members to offer support to the persons affected by the hurricane, by providing food and other forms of material support.

    In support for MEC’s actions, WSCF LAC has launched a call for donations addressed to all WSCF Friends, SCMs and other partner organizations to raise funds that will be used to support MEC’s work. These donations will be exclusively used to help the most affected areas, including 7 Cuban cities where the student movement will deploy its members and volunteers to offer support particularly to the most vulnerable persons affected by the tragedy, such as children, elders and persons with disabilities.

    If you would like to make a donations, you can use one of the following accounts:

    FUMEC ALC
    BANK NAME: Banco de la República Oriental del Uruguay
    ABA/SWIFT/CHIPS ID: BROUUYMM
    ABA026003324
    ADDRESS: Constituyente 1450, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay +598 2908 2882
    ACCOUNT NUMBER: 196-0564029
    ATTENTION: LAC Regional Secretary

    WSCF IRO
    BANK NAME: Banque Cantonale de Genève (BCGE)
    ABA/SWIFT/CHIPS ID: BCGECHGGXXX
    ADDRESS:: Quai de I’le 17, case postale 2251, 1211, Genève 2,
    ACCOUNT NUMBER: LO790.08.11
    ACCOUNT NAME: World Student Christian Federation
    ATTENTION: LAC Regional Secretary

    WSCF Europe stands in solidarity with the people of Cuba and send all the prayers and good wishes to their way. We would also like to congratulate MEC and WSCF LAC for their initiative and to encourage our Friends, SCMs and other partners to consider donating and supporting this initiative.

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    September 20th, 2017 6:49 pm | Continue Reading
  6. In solidarity with the Orthodox Student Union in Finland

    WSCF Europe would like to express their solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Student Union in Finland (OOL), who have recently been caught in a struggle to continue their activity, as a sizeable proportion of the funds that they are receiving threaten to be cut.

    The OOL has been serving since 1948, having now 73 members, the same amount of “hang-arounds”, and is run by 5 volunteers (the board) annually with 2 part-time staff members. The organisation is part of World Student Christian Federation since ages and is part of Syndesmos and soon Finnish Ecumenical Council. It used to be supported financially by Finnish Orthodox Church, its parishes and individual donors. Former OOL members are people active not only within Orthodox Church but state administration, education sector and NGOs alike.

    We believe that a possible closing of the movement would affect the hundreds of students and members who have wholeheartedly dedicated their time to making the movement grow, flourish and spread the word and joy of God.

    We invite you to read Nico’s, the Executive Director of OOL, call for solidarity and to join us in prayer.

    Dear bro’s & sisters in Christ,

     

    Please receive my warmest greetings on the beginning of the Orthodox church year. As the nature slowly paves way for the awakening to come, we see the aim of human life. Just as the nature renews itself, so must we constantly put aside the old me and ware us a new – for the Resurrection to come.

    Even though, I wish my festive message could be happier. Instead of being able to renew itself, the Orthodox Student Union (OOL) is on way to perish, since our own church proposed a decrease of 75% of its yearly grant. It’s half of the union’s total budget of ~11000 €, so practically, this means shutting down all Orthodox activities within universities.

    I am not so much worried about our organization itself. I’m deeply concerned about the herd that truly forms the union. A few hundred young adults will lose a platform of pier discussion, support and/or pastoral conversation. Let alone a community united in presence and prayer.

    Therefore, I ask for your support and compassion. All fraternal aid is welcome, but the most important are the prayers. Please do pray for us. Last but definitely not the least:

     

    Lord, have mercy on all students.

    Enstrenghten them and console.

    Illness and weakness heal.

    Those in uncertainty encourage.

    Let no one be forsaken,

    those in loneliness comfort.

    To them an angel address,

    a guardian and companion.

    And through their forprayers

    have mercy on me sinner.

     

    BR,

    Nico Lamminparras

    Executive Director

    Ortodoksinen opiskelijaliitto – Ortodoxa studentförbundet r.y.

    Malminkatu 22 D 81 00100 HELSINKI

    Suomi – Finland

    +358 337 39 34

     

    If you wish to learn more about the situation of the organisation, contact Zuzana Babicova, WSCF-Europe Chairperson, who can facilitate the contact with the OOL leaders.

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    September 5th, 2017 11:37 pm | Continue Reading
  7. 2017 North South/South North Joint Prayer for Peaceful Reunification

    One of our ecumenical partners, the  National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) is inviting us to observe the Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula, as the churches in the world will celebrate on 13th August. Please join us in a worship liturgy and read one of the personal story of division and forgiveness prepared by the NCCK.

     

    16 Mortal, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it”; 17 and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV)

    God of grace!

    Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.

    God who rules history,

    For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.

    God who leads peace,

    Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.

    God who gives hope,

    Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.

    God of grace!

    Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world. 

    God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.

    August 13, 2017

    National Council of Churches in Korea           Korean Christian Federation

     

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    August 7th, 2017 4:59 pm | Continue Reading
  8. Prayer for students – UDPS 2017

    We had the following prayer sent to us by Karolyn Mangeot on the occasion of Universal Day of Prayer for Students from North Carolina, USA:

    I am not a enrolled in school now but I am a woman who has benefitted from a great education and I hope to always be a “student”.  I pray today not only for those who cannot afford an education but also for those students who can think only about what education will get them the job/career that will allow them to make money to support their families or pay back their student loans or make other people proud of them.  May God lead them to an education that will fulfill their souls and help them and their families and friends expand their minds and bless them with a life rich in opportunities.

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    February 28th, 2017 10:03 am | Continue Reading
  9. Prayer for education – UDPS 2017

    Dear God,

    In children and young adults, you implored the disciples and his preaching audience to let them come unfettered to God, because theirs was the pure in heart and innocence. We know that an excellent way to do this I through education, both religious and secular. In a world made more anxious by political changes, we are more and more aware that children are the hope for the future. We pray that they may continue to seek truth in an era that seeks to distort or change it. We pray that they may see the good in education, and we pray for those who continue to make education available and meaningful to students across the world.

    In your name we pray, Alleluia, Amen.

     

    This prayer was offered by a retired high school teacher of over 30 years, a former and present coach, and a past youth group leader for over 2 decades, who read about WSCF-Europe in the Presbyterian Church USA’s Mission Yearbook.

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    February 27th, 2017 10:04 am | Continue Reading
  10. WSCF AP Statement on LGBT rights in Bangladesh

    AP region

    World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific demands protection and safety of LGBT human rights defenders and ensure freedom of speech in Bangladesh.

    The World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP) condemns in the strongest terms the recent brutal killings of two gay rights activists, Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On 25th April 2016, six unidentified attackers entered their apartment and hacked Mannan and Majumdar to death in the presence of Mannan’s 80-year-old mother, leaving behind a seriously wounded security guard of the apartment building, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency.

    WSCF-AP expresses its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of Mannan and Mojumdar. Mannan was a passionate dreamer to create an inclusive community in Bangladesh. He stood for justice and human rights and tried to uplift the voices of the oppressed and marginalized sexual minorities , the LGBT community, through his courageous initiative. Mannan was the editor of the country’s only LGBT magazine Roopbaan, which was launched two years ago to become a platform for promoting the rights of the LGBT community in Bangladesh. Mannan also worked at the U.S. embassy prior to joining the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, he was also serving as a founding member of the U.S. Embassy Diversity Committee. “

    “I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi,” said U.S. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat. “We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind these murders.”

    The chairperson of Student Christian Movement (SCM) Bangladesh, Edward Tarun, condemned the recent killings and expressed his concern about the recent developments in the country in which a series of systematic killings have been carried out to suppress any expression of liberal ideas or writings of dissent by civil society.

    “We are no longer allowed freedom of speech,” Tarun said. “There is fear-mongering among the community who express their dissent. The government is least bothered to take action against the perpetrators. We are living in a dangerous situation in the country.”

    Earlier this month a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular views online was hacked to death with machetes and was then shot in Dhaka. This attack took place within a context in which last year four prominent secular bloggers were also brutally killed with machetes. The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers” drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 that was widely circulated.

    The situation in Bangladesh is disturbing as the targeting of progressive authors and writers is growing at an alarming rate. We in the student community in WSCF Asia-Pacific Region seek your solidarity and action to protect the lives and human rights of minorities in the country, especially Bangladesh’s sexual minorities.

    We stand in solidarity with the justice and peace-seeking community and urge the Bangladesh government to urgently undertake the following actions:

    1. Ensure that everyone in Bangladesh is secured and protected under human rights protection laws, particularly the country’s progressive thinkers, writers and creative artists who have recently become victims in the hands of religious fanatics;
    2. Undertake measures to ensure the protection and safety of all LGBT human rights defenders in the country;
    3. Bring the culprits to justice as quickly as possible and render the most stringent punishment in order to prevent any future occurrence of such heinous criminal acts;
    4. Proactively address cases of violence against LGBT people, including the implementation of measures to prevent all forms of violence by investigating and penalizing such actions and by undertaking necessary reforms to the justice system;
    5. Ensure freedom of speech as a fundamental right of every human being.

    In Solidarity,

    Human Rights Justice and Peace Committee – WSCF – AP
    April 28, 2016

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    May 4th, 2016 10:23 pm | Continue Reading