A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘Catholics Confront Global Poverty’

Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia, Apr. 18-19

Yesterday we mentioned that Liz is in Colombia. Since then this action alert came across our desk from our friends at Catholics Confront Global Poverty. With Liz where she is, we thought it was very timely to share with you.


Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia:
Urge Congress to evaluate and refocus U.S. policy and assistance to Colombia


Contact your members of Congress (click the link and scroll down the page) during the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia April 18-19 and urge them to:
1. Prioritize social and humanitarian aid for Colombian refugees and displaced persons; and
2. Decrease and redirect the disproportionate emphasis on military assistance for Colombia to give greater priority to the humanitarian needs of the conflict’s victims.

WHAT IS THE SITUATION IN COLOMBIA? Four decades of conflict deeply rooted in social and economic exclusion has relegated Colombia second only to Sudan as the country with the highest number of forcibly displaced persons within its borders according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. Over 4 million people–or close to 10 per cent of the population-have been forcibly displaced within the country, and hundreds of thousands of Colombians have become refugees in neighboring countries. Colombia also suffers high rates of forced disappearances, threats and violence directed at rural communities and human rights defenders, and a largely hidden epidemic of gender-based violence.

HOW HAS THE U.S. RESPONDED? The United States has provided significant counternarcotics, military and social assistance to Colombia over the past decade. Despite some noteworthy advances in security, other issues such as internal displacement and refugee flows, widespread threats and targeted assassinations continue at an alarming rate.  The Obama Administration and Congress have a significant opportunity at this moment to thoroughly evaluate and refocus U.S. policy and aid to Colombia: to prioritize the needs of the victims of the conflict, strengthen human rights protections, and support the foundations of a sustainable resolution to the current conflict.

WHAT DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH URGE THE U.S. TO DO?  The Colombian Catholic Bishops Conference, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) agree that the United States can make a signifanct contribution to ending the violent conflict in Colombia and assisting affected communities. We urge the United States Congress to:
1. Prioritize social assistance and humanitarian aid for Colombian refugees and displaced persons by:
– Ensuring aid for the internally displaced in Colombia is maintained at FY 2010 levels and includes funding to prevent displacement and protect the rights of the displaced. 
– Restoring funding for Colombian refugees and the Western Hemisphere in the Migration and Refugee Account that was cut by the Administration’s FY 2011 budget request to at least 2010 levels.
– Passing House Resolution 1224 that promotes the protection of the indigenous, Afro-Colombian and women who have been forcibly displaced.  
2. Decrease and redirect the disproportionate emphasis on military aid to Colombia.  After 11 years of military funding for Colombia, in what was intended to be a five year plan, it is time for the U.S. to significantly phase down military aid and give greater priority to the humanitarian needs of the victims of the conflict in Colombia.  
3. Adopt trade policies that promote sustainable development in Colombia. Any trade agreement with Colombia should include, among other important mechanisms to minimize losses, protections for small farmers. Without such protections, the loss of rural livelihoods is likely to push farmers towards illicit crops, increase the number of displaced persons, and deepen the conflict.

WHAT DOES THE CONFLICT IN COLOMBIA HAVE TO DO WITH MY FAITH? The Catholic Church’s social teaching is rooted in the sacredness and fundamental dignity of every human life.  We are called to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need throughout the world because we are all part of one human family. Good stewardship of our resources urges us to assist those most vulnerable, particularly refugees and internally displaced people as well as to promote policies that prevent further displacement and poverty. 

HOW IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH SUPPORTING PEACE IN COLOMBIA?  The Colombian Catholic Church, USCCB, and CRS are working to promote peace and reconciliation in Colombia while providing assistance to the people who need it most–the displaced, the victims of violence and the poor.  We also promote policies that can bring about a just and sustainable peace.

Take action!

Catholics Confront Global Poverty webcast

With Liz in Colombia this week, we’ll use this space to share a webcast invitation from our friends at Catholics Confront Global Poverty (the webcast is tomorrow, April 14).

Please join Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) for a Catholics Confront Global Poverty webcast:
Extracting Natural Resources with People in Mind:
Addressing Root Causes of Conflict and Poverty
Olun Kamitatu – Regional Technical Advisor, Extractive Industries, Central Africa Region/Catholic Relief Services (in Kinshasa, DRC),
Rev. Juan Molina, O.SS.T. – Latin America and Global Trade Policy Advisor, Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Rees Warne – Strategic Issues Advisor, Extractives Industries, Catholic Relief Services/USA
Wednesday, April 14
2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time
RSVP now! 

This Catholics Confront Global Poverty webcast will explore issues around the extraction of natural resources in the developing world such as the links between minerals and conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We will examine the Church’s approach to natural resource extraction and discuss concrete ways for Catholics in the United States to have a real impact in helping people around the world ensure that their oil, minerals and other natural resources can fuel development.
This webcast will provide:
1. An on-the-ground view from a CRS staff person working with people affected by the extraction of natural resources ;
2. An overview of CRS’ response and support for the people who live there;
3. USCCB and CRS’ policy recommendations for how U.S. policymakers can make a difference on these issues based on Catholic social teaching and our experience;
4. Ideas on how Catholics in the U.S., through the Catholics Confront Global 5. Poverty initiative, can support greater transparency; in natural resources extraction in the developing world;
6. An opportunity to ask the presenters questions about these issues and engage them in dialogue.

RSVP now

Good Friday Walk(s) for Justice

La Crosse, Wis.

A social justice Stations of the Cross, with a 1.6 mile route through
downtown La Crosse, will begin at 10 a.m. Good Friday, April 2,
outside the Franciscan Spirituality Center, 920 Market St.

The event, organized by the La Crosse area Pax Christi group, is
inspired by the traditional Stations of the Cross processions that
Christian communities lead prior to Easter.For more information call the Franciscan Spirituality Center at 608-791-5295 or e-mail fscenter@fspa.org.

Chicago, Ill.

The 8th Day Center for Justice will host the 30th annual Good Friday Walk for Justice on Friday, April 2, noon, meeting on the corner of  Congress and Michigan Streets. The theme for this year’s Good Friday Walk – Trouble the Water – reflects 8th Day Center’s belief that each of us must bear the responsibility to be in solidarity with those who suffer at the hands of dominating and abusive power. Those who are condemned, burdened, stripped of dignity, tortured and killed by unjust public policies.

Get more information and download the Prayer Guide at the 8th Day’s Web site.

Other “justice” actions

During this Holy Week, our friends at Catholics Confront Global Poverty invite you to consider the issue of poverty here in the United States.
Learn how 25 percent of contributions to CRS’ Operation Rice Bowl support local hunger and poverty relief efforts in the United States. 
As Catholics, we have a global responsibility to assist those in need both in our own communities and around the world.  Pray for our brothers and sisters who struggle with poverty, wherever they may live, using this prayer and support CRS’ work in reducing hunger and poverty.

Helping poor countries get back on their feet

We pass this along from our friends at Catholics Confront Global Poverty …

How can we confront global poverty?

Get wealthy nations to cancel debt payments so that poor countries can get back on their feet.

Meet Aurelie Nyapeye Yatchou, a community forest manager for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Cameroon. Cameroon suffers a high rate of underdevelopment, despite the presence of rich natural resources. Many forests in Cameroon and other developing countries have historically been exploited by logging companies and other large industries with little compensation for local communities.

Due to debt forgiveness and the work of CRS, many forest communities in Cameroon have been able to see a real improvement in the quality of life in their communities. In 2006, funds that were saved through the forgiveness of Cameroon’s debt were approved to be redirected into a new community forest management program run by CRS. This poverty reduction program now helps the forest communities that Aurelie manages improve their quality of life by managing, harvesting and selling valuable forest products such as wood, bark, leaves and seeds.

Since the wide-scale movement to cancel the debt of developing countries began in 1999, a great deal of progress has been made. The Jubilee USA Network reports that since the latest round of debt cancellation in 2006, more than $40 billion in debts in 21 countries in Africa and Latin America have been cancelled. Meanwhile total spending for education, health and other poverty-reducing investments in the countries receiving debt relief has increased substantially over the last decade.

But there is one remaining step to be taken: extending debt cancellation to all poor countries that need it and can show that they will use the savings for poverty reduction.

That’s why Catholics Confront Global Povertyis calling upon 1 million Catholics to urge the United States and international financial institutions such as the World Bank to cancel the debt of needy poor countries that have been left out of existing debt relief programs.

Here are three things you can do this week to confront global poverty:

Learn more about how completing debt forgiveness will help end global poverty.

Let your Facebook, MySpace, or other networks know about Catholics Confront Global Poverty.

Send this card to your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, classmates, fellow parishioners and others and invite them to become one in a million confronting global poverty. Make it your personal goal to recruit five new members this week.

Thanks. You’re one in a million!

FSPA partners with Catholics Confront Global Poverty

We’re excited to tell you about our new partnership with Catholics Confront Global Poverty (an action alert is below). The FSPA Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation committee decided to partner with this organization to contribute to the work of confronting the challenge of global poverty.

The initiative  is a partnership between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Relief Services and is inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 World Day of Peace Message: Fight Poverty to Build Peace.

This initiative aims to mobilize one million Catholics in the U.S. to confront global poverty by defending the life and dignity of people living in poverty throughout the world. It focuses on seven key areas:

  • U.S. international assistance
  • peacekeeping
  • debt relief
  • fair trade
  • natural resource extraction
  • migration
  • global climate change

This effort provides a way for Catholics to confront these poverty issues by praying, learning, acting and giving.

Here’s an action alert from our friends at Catholics Confront Global Poverty:

Tell Senators on Key Committees: 

Protect the Poor in Climate Legislation
Take Action Now! Contact your Senator now and urge that the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733, the climate change bill) now being considered:
Fully protect low-income individuals and families in the U.S. from any potential rise in the price of energy and other consumer goods resulting from the legislation by providing the same level of funding for low-income assistance as in the House bill;
Significantly increase the funding for international adaptation programs. At a minimum allocate $3.5 billion of funding generated by the bill to international adaptation programs starting in 2012 and increase rapidly to $7 billion annually by 2020 so that people living in poverty around the world can be protected from the effects of climate change.

Why is action important now?

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will likely vote on this climate change legislation this week. This begins a serious and overdue effort to face up to our moral and environmental challenges.

What is the Church’s position?

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) seek climate legislation that achieves two fundamental goals: care for creation and protecting the poor and vulnerable—both at home and abroad—who contribute least to climate change, but suffer its worst consequences. While we are encouraged by language in the Kerry-Boxer bill acknowledging the need to protect poor people worldwide, we are deeply concerned that the level of funding for these provisions is well below what is needed.

What does climate change have to do with my Catholic faith?

The Catholic Church brings a unique voice to the climate change debate by lifting up both the moral dimensions of caring for God’s creation and the needs of the most vulnerable among us. The Catholic bishops’ primary concern is to place the life, dignity and needs of the poor and vulnerable at the center of climate legislation. Poor people should not bear an undue burden of the impacts of climate change or the global adjustments needed to address it. To learn about Catholic teaching on climate change, read the June 2001 statement by the United States Catholic Bishops, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.

How is the Catholic Church confronting the effects of climate change?

The Church promotes prudent action in the face of the growing impacts of global climate change and is seeking common ground for the common good in a very polarized debate. CRS has already witnessed the tragic consequences of climate change in the daily lives of people living in poverty and is working diligently to help affected communities through health, agriculture, water, and emergency preparedness programs in 100 countries. USCCB, CCUSA and CRS are members of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change that invites Catholics to join the Catholic Climate Covenant. Through the Catholics Confront Global Poverty initiative, USCCB and CRS are mobilizing one million Catholics to learn, pray and act in support of policies that will help address the effects of climate change on poor people worldwide.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Contact your Senators below who are members of the Environment and Public Works, Foreign Relations and Finance Committees now – through e-mail, phone calls, or FAX letters.
John Kerry, MA (sponsor)
Barbara Boxer, CA (sponsor)
Richard Lugar, IN
Benjamin Cardin, MD
Joseph Lieberman, CT
Max Baucus, MT
Thomas R. Carper, DE
Frank R. Lautenberg, NJ
Bernard Sanders, VT
Amy Klobuchar, MN Sheldon Whitehouse, RI
Tom Udall, NM
Jeff Merkley, OR
Kirsten Gillibrand, NY
Arlen Specter, PA
George Voinovich, OH
Lamar Alexander, TN
Robert Menendez, NJ
Bob Casey, PA
For more information, contact:
Cecilia Calvo, USCCB Environmental Justice Program Coordinator: 202-541-3188, ccalvo@usccb.org
Tina Rodousakis, CRS Grassroots Advocacy Manager: 410-951-7462, trodousa@crs.org
Monica Maggiano, CCUSA Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America Director: 703-236-6230, mmaggiano@catholiccharities.org

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