Ending violence in the Philippines
The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) remains deeply concerned over the deaths of church members who are speaking out about human rights abuses in the Philippines.
This week the President of the UCA Dr Deidre Palmer has written to the Philippines Ambassador in Australia, Her Excellency Ma. Hellen Barber De La Vega, and also to Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Marise Payne to express our deep concern and encourage prompt and decisive action.
As the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) stated in June 2020:
Most of the church people targeted in this way are those primarily fulfilling the Christian mandate and mission of ministering to the poor and the marginalised. They undertake their prophetic task as Christians to be with the people, especially in times when the basic human rights of people and communities are being undermined. Their Christian mandate compels them to be with the last of the least and with the poorest of the poor to defend God’s image in every human being. Their faith compels them to accompany people in asserting and attaining their full rights, but they are vilified, harassed and even killed for doing so.
Recently the UCA joined an International Ecumenical Convocation for the Defense of Human Rights in the Philippines. This gathering drew together churches from across North America and Asia as well as a number of global Christian bodies.
The participants in the convocation, including the Uniting Church and UnitingWorld, joined together in signing the Unity Statement for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in the Philippines. The statement calls for an end to the violence and the continuing violations of human rights under COVID-19 pandemic quarantines in the Philippines
Dr Palmer said the Uniting Church had a long-standing partnership with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and a relationship with the NCCP.
“We are also aware of the many Filipino people who have found a home here in Australia, including within our UCA, and we acknowledge their pain and anguish at the continuing abuses in the Philippines,” Dr Palmer added.
“I join with the UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania in encouraging UCA members to join in this letter writing action as we seek justice and accountability in the Philippines.”
The JIM Cluster within the VIC/TAS Synod has a helpful resource with background information on the situation on the Philippines, who you can write to and helpful information to include in your letters. READ
This weekend the President will join the Uniting Church’s Filipino National Conference which is taking place online. It will open with worship on Friday 30 October with a Vespers service for All Saints Day bringing together Filipinos in Australia and overseas.
Photo: United Church of Christ in the Phillipines: https://www.uccpchurch.com/haran-case/