On the Ground in Palestine, Sept. 17, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine, Sept. 17, 2017

This information comes from Sabeel, Jerusalem, from their weekly prayer service.

At the beginning of this school year, over two thousand classrooms are lacking for Palestinian students in Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality and state authorities have failed to provide the lacking classrooms as ordered by an Israeli High Court ruling five years ago. The Jerusalem municipality allocates most of its funds to its Jewish residents and deprives the Palestinian community of its basic needs.

On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Supreme Court held a hearing regarding the secret procedures governing the work of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, despite the opposition of the Israeli state. The Supreme Court decision came following an appeal representing 108 petitioners. The petitioners demanded the establishment of legislation to regulate operations of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, its roles, authority, form of organization and management, and to require monitoring of its activities and facilities.

On Monday, Sept. 4, Palestinian security forces detained Issa Amro, a prominent human rights activist. Issa’s arrest came a day after he posted comments on his Facebook criticizing Palestinian forces for arresting a journalist. Issa was released from prison on Sunday, Sept. 10.

“The demolition of educational facilities before the start of the school year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by the authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land.”

Activists and residents of the village of Jubbet al-Dhib in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem rebuilt their school in one night. The school was destroyed by Israeli forces two weeks ago.
Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home. The Shamasnehs vacated the house, where they had lived for 53 years, after Israeli courts ruled in favor of the alleged heir of its original Jewish owners pre 1948. The case was brought by the Israel Land Fund, a right-wing non-governmental organization that advocates, for ideological reasons, the takeover of Palestinian land.

According to Haaretz, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists in late August that plans for the implementation of a measure virtually unheard of since 1967 were months away from completion. These are plans for the eviction: Eviction and demolition of two whole West Bank Palestinian villages. Together, the two villages, Susiya, in the South Hebron Hills, and Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, are home to hundreds of people, about half of them minors.  Demolishing these communities would constitute the forcible transfer of protected persons, a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The following is one of a number of items in the B’Tselem newsletter. 

On Aug. 22, Israeli authorities demolished the school at the community of Jub a-Dib, southeast of Bethlehem, leaving 80 pupils without an educational facility. In Abu a-Nuwar, on Aug. 9, the Civil Administration confiscated solar panels donated by the international community, that provided electricity to the school and kindergarten. On Aug. 21, Civil Administration personnel accompanied by around fifty soldiers, police and border police officers arrived at the Badu al-Baba community which is located near al-‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. They dismantled and confiscated a pre-fab that had been placed there around three weeks prior, to serve as a kindergarten for 25 local children aged 4-6, who do not have an alternative educational facility.

The demolition of educational facilities before the start of the school year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by the authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land.
10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada needs a legislative framework to fulfill the promise of this vital human rights instrument – UBCIC

10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada needs a legislative framework to fulfill the promise of this vital human rights instrument – UBCIC

Posted by Ubcic on September 13, 2017

 

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. Such a human rights-­‐based approach is essential to address the racism and discrimination that has caused such profound harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.  Violations include uprooting Indigenous peoples from their territories and resources, failure to honour Treaties, tearing Indigenous children from their families, and making Indigenous women, girls and two-­‐ spirited people the targets of unimaginable violence.

 

The adoption of the UN Declaration ten years ago today – on September 13, 2007 – was a crucial victory in the evolution of international human rights law. This historic achievement was possible because Indigenous peoples persisted for more than two decades in advancing a strong and powerful vision of self-­‐determination, decolonization and non-­‐discrimination.

 

The adoption of the Declaration was also made possible because, by the end of this process, influential states including Canada had finally come to accept the necessity and urgency of a new relationship with Indigenous peoples.

 

The UN General Assembly has unanimously reaffirmed the Declaration on three separate occasions, calling for full implementation at national and international levels.

 

Fulfilling this commitment requires meaningful and lasting changes to eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices and to ensure Indigenous peoples make their own decisions about their lives and futures.

 

Yet, a decade after the adoption of the Declaration, Canada still lacks concrete and effective mechanisms to uphold its provisions. This is despite many positive statements from the current government committing to fully implement the Declaration.

 

Last month, the United Nations’ top anti-­‐racism body, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, strongly supported Indigenous peoples in urging Canada to adopt a legislative framework and national action plan to implement the UN Declaration.

 

A private members bill expected to come before the House of Commons this fall for second reading – Bill C-­‐262 introduced by MP Romeo Saganash – contains elements of such a framework. This includes: repudiation of colonialism and doctrines of superiority; affirmation that the standards set out in the UN Declaration have application in Canadian law; and review and reform of federal legislation to ensure consistency with the minimum standards set out in the UN Declaration. In addition, the Bill requires that a national action plan be developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

 

By approaching implementation of the Declaration through a legislative framework, there is greater assurance that crucial progress made will not be undone by a future government. Our organizations and Nations call on the federal government to embrace and build on the key elements of implementation already set out in Bill C-­‐262.

 

We appreciate that full implementation of the Declaration requires long-­‐term commitment and collaboration. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission repeatedly reminded us, “reconciliation is going to take hard work.”

 

This is the time to act. Public responses to the TRC’s Calls to Action demonstrate a profound desire among Canadians to build a just relationship between Indigenous peoples and non-­‐Indigenous Canadians. As the TRC itself stated, the Declaration provides the framework for doing so. However, putting this framework into place requires more than fine words. It requires concrete, effective action.

 

The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

 

Statement endorsed by:

 

Amnesty International Canada; Amnistie internationale Canada francophone; Assembly of First Nations; Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-­‐Labrador and Assembly of First Nations Quebec-­‐Labrador; British Columbia Assembly of First Nations; Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers); Confederacy of Treaty 6; First Nations Summit; Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee); Indigenous Bar Association; Indigenous World Association; KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives; Métis Nation; MiningWatch Canada; Native Women’s Association of Canada; Nunavut Tunngavik; Oxfam Canada; Oxfam-­‐Québec; Quebec Native Women/Femmes Autochtones du Québec; Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

 

Source: 10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada needs a legislative framework to fulfill the promise of this vital human rights instrument – UBCIC

On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine – Sept. 1, 2017

Haaretz reports, “The start of the school year in a West Bank village was pushed back to Sunday (Aug. 27) after the Israeli Civil Administration on Tuesday confiscated and destroyed trailers that were supposed to serve as classrooms, along with other educational equipment. Authorities have confiscated and destroyed trailers used as classrooms in three other Palestinian communities in the last two weeks.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah is considering dismantling the Palestinian Authority (PA), if there is no political horizon to establish an independent Palestinian state, [said] Ahmad Majdalani, a confidant of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last month, Israel revoked the citizenship of hundreds of Israeli Arab Bedouins and left them stateless. Over  500 citizens lost their citizen-status with a single keystroke and with no further explanation.        

Last week, Israeli authorities stormed the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem and demolished a Palestinian home for the second time. The same home, 60 square metres, had just been demolished on Aug. 15 by the Israeli army.

With the help of fellow Jerusalemites, the family rebuilt a temporary home made of tin sheets, which Israeli forces came to destroy on Aug. 22. The family and their friends are already working to rebuild the house for the third time.

A brand-new Palestinian primary school in Jubbet Al-Dhib was razed by Israel just as the new school year was set to begin. The six newly installed steel terrapin cabins were erected in the village of Jubbet Al Dhib so that local children do not have to walk for an hour to get to school. A total of 55 West Bank schools are currently threatened with demolition and “stop-work” orders.

From the Middle East Working Group

On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

On the Ground in Palestine: Aug. 14, 2017

In recent months, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior has drastically increased its hostile policies towards East Jerusalem residents. Many Palestinians wait months to schedule an appointment and waste valuable resources on dealing with the added bureaucracy.

 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem continue to be the target of Israeli settler organizations. Jewish settlers are stepping up their attempts to acquire new property through deceitful and violent means. Also in Isawiya village in East Jerusalem, 200 families received demolition orders of their homes.

Update on Positive Returns From Divesting and Reinvesting

Update on Positive Returns From Divesting and Reinvesting

Walter Whiteley, member of the TSP Climate Justice Group and former TSP Trustee.

 

Over 3 years ago, TSP voted to divest from Fossil Fuels – based on our social commitments – with the anticipation that we could still obtain good financial returns and better social returns.  In the process of reinvesting, TSP Trustees chose Genus Capital Management Fossil Free Funds, including some impact funds, for most of the endowment.   We have seen good returns from these investments – and a recent report found that, overall reduced carbon intensive portfolios had lower returns than low carbon portfolios, over the seven years 2010-2017, low carbon intensity improved returns by 9.2% cumulatively.

 

Genus Capital released their inaugural Carbon Emissions Report this week, , which makes some key findings, relevant to our choices collectively, and individually.

 

From the Genus report:

“A company’s COemissions, or carbon emissions, is a particularly significant measure for those investors who are concerned about climate change and the environmental impact of their investments. Genus’ inaugural carbon report examines the relationship between carbon emissions, carbon intensity and investment returns. The research team at Genus applied factor analysis to isolate the impact of carbon intensity on a portfolio of global investments (35% S&P/TSX Composite/ 65% MSCI World) between 2010 and 2017.

 

The research indicated that carbon intensity had a 9.2 per cent cumulative drag on portfolio performance during the seven-year period ending March 31, 2017. Carbon intensity refers to the volume of a company’s carbon dioxide emissions for every million dollars in revenue (USD). ”

 

Moreover, the report concluded that Canadian companies tend to be among the worst offenders when evaluated based on carbon intensity when compared to other developed world equity markets, owing to the Energy sector’s significant weighting in the Canadian market. “

 

Put positively, fossil fuel divestment refocuses choices on better performing assets and companies. Also Global markets offer a better range of low intensity stocks and bonds than the Canadian markets.

 

This Genus research builds on last year’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Report, which compared their own three year returns with the Canadian market.  Together, these underscore that investors needn’t sacrifice investment returns to own a portfolio that’s aligned with their values and helps build a low carbon future.

 

These are exciting and active times for divestment, positive re-investment and new opportunities to learn and act.  Here are a few more links:

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

The United Church, Interfaith Relations, and Islamophobia – March 19 Global Gossip

 

Gail Allan gave a presentation in her role as the Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch, and Interfaith Relations for the United Church.

 

She made the following points:

  • there is a movement of inter-faith work that endeavours to present alternative visions which are vital to actively resisting current thinking
  • local interfaith relations are key
  • there are several documents that guide U.C in dialogue
  • g. Mending The World, which commits U.C to do all its work through a multi-faith lens, Bearing Faithful Witness (Christian/Jewish relations), That We May Know Each Other (Christian/Muslim relations), Honouring the Divine in Each Other (Christian/Hindu relations)
  • Several organizations were mentioned as points of connection, dialogue, and inter-faith justice work
  • Gail drew our attention to specific organizations that we might want to keep in touch with who hold events and that would be informative and a way of making contact with inter-faith groups, e.g. National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Noor Centre, Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI), Multi-faith Centre at U of T.
  • Inter-faith work can be seen as concentric circles: local – national – global

 

What Can We Do

During our discussion some of the following ideas were suggested:

  • keep aware of the U.C website “Take Action” section which guides members in contacting politicians regarding issues such as increasing refugee sponsorships and ending the safe third country agreement.
  • Participating in webinars such as the one recently held on Welcoming Refugees and Challenging Islamophobia
  • Be aware of the proposed inter-faith centre in the Honest Ed’s development.
  • Inviting a Muslim speaker from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to give us a kind of Islam 101
  • Importance of informing ourselves through interpersonal dialogue
  • Week by week small actions that we can ask members to do; a kind of weekly mission that we are sent off with at the conclusion of our services e.g. make a phone call, sign petition
  • Start our actions with an exploration of the document That We May Know Each Other
  • Draft letter regarding suspension of safe third country agreement motion modeling letters from other conferences
  • Advertising events we become aware of on our listserve, inviting others to join
  • Introducing ourselves to our Muslim neighbours, e.g the Ismaili worship group in our neighbourhood.

 

Jared agreed to help co-ordinate events and make sure communications were facilitated for TSP.  It was also noted that we should make an effort to reach those who are not on the list serve.

It was also noted that we need to keep the Board of TSP aware of any actions that are undertaken so they can address any concerns that arise.

 

Please note that this a summary of the discussion and apologies in advance for anything missed or mis-stated,

Betty Stone

 

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

Upcoming events from the Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group May 17-18

The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group (IRSG) invites congregation members to the following events:

 

 

May 17th at 7:30pm
Discussion of “Indigenous Healing: Exploring Traditional Paths” by Rupert Ross. (There are many copies in the library.) Darlene Varaleau will be hosting the discussion in her home.  Contact admin@trinitystpauls.ca for more details.

 

 

 
May 18th at 8pm (Sony Center)
Outside Looking In (http://www.olishow.com): Indigenous youth provide a transformative dancing extravaganza that will inspire and move you to tears. Tickets cost $10 and may be purchased at  www.ticketmaster.ca Members from TSP and the Redeemer will be attending.

https://www.facebook.com/events/111595482714796/

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

Anti-Racism Policy and Belief Statement

As we enter Black History Month, TSP remains committed to principles of anti-racism, and we hold victims of racism in our prayers.

TSP Anti-Racism Belief Statement

We believe that:
• all persons are equal before God.
• the miracle of God’s creation is manifested through our many differences.
• racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.
• racism is a rejection of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
• racism is present in church and society, including TSP, and that throughout time racism has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.
• racism is a violation of human rights. It robs all human beings of their wholeness and is used as justification for economic, social, political and spiritual exploitation.
• change is possible through a process of truth-telling, repentance, and justice-making which leads to transformation.
• work for justice is central to our Christian faith and practice.
• just relationships must be reflected in the laws, policies, structures, and practices of both church and society.

The United Church’s Anti-racism Policy.

We believe we are all equal before God.

We believe racism is a sin and violates God’s desire for humanity.

We believe racism is present in our society and in our church, and throughout time has manifested itself in many forms in varying degrees.

We believe that the struggle against racism is a continuous effort. Therefore our anti-racism policy statement is only a first step. It provides the basis for the creation of a church where all are welcome, where all feel welcome, and where diversity is as natural as breathing.

We believe change is possible. We believe in forgiveness, reconciliation, and transformation and the potential to learn from stories and experiences.

We believe we are all called to work against racism and for a society in which the words of the Gospel are realized among us.

We believe in a vision of society in which these words of the Gospel are realized:

“It is through faith that all of you are God’s [people] in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ… So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26–28)

 

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Stories from the Occupied Territories – Jan 29 Global Gossip

Join the Middle East Working Group on January 29 in hearing an informal presentation from Zoe Godfrey-Davies, who spent three months living in the occupied Palestinian territories and working as a human rights observer as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment program in 2014 and 2015. Zoe will be sharing stories and photos from her experience.
There will also be light refreshments.
Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Na-Me-Res Christmas Collection

Back in March, John Olthuis suggested that one way that we could respond to ‘the original nations of this land that continue to cry out for justice‘ would be by ‘paying the rent’; an act of respect, a way of making contact through a concrete act of repentance.
The Indigenous Rights Solidarity Group has been putting this idea into practice by forging a relationship with Na-Me-Res. This First Nations Agency has a men’s residence as well as programmes for individuals suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
We donated our ‘rent money,’ are working together on the Heart Garden, volunteered at their powwow and now collecting items for the men at Christmas.
After a wonderful pageant performed by the children, the gifts for the men were brought up to the alter.
As you can see from the photo, the response was overwhelming, such a sign of hope and generosity in a weary world.
na me res offering