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SUMMER 1999: v4i2 INDEX

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SUMMER, 1999: Volume 4 Issue 2

From Our Partners…

Christian Peacemaker Teams

The Peacemaker Congress 2000: From Violence to Active Nonviolence, sponsored by CPT and New Call to Peacemaking, will be held Dec. 27-30, 1999, in Washington DC. The keynote speaker will be Walter Wink, author of Engaging the Powers, a widely acclaimed study of Biblical thought regarding dominating power and the nonviolent way of Jesus as an alternative path toward social transformation. His topic will be The Myth of Redemptive Violence. Typically, Peacemaker Congresses offer many workshops on peacemaking and nonviolence as a lifestyle, and provide opportunities for networking within the Peace Church tradition. Participants are invited to stay for a special post-Congress action/event on Dec. 31 to bring in the new Millennium. The Congress has developed a hosting style of frugal simplicity in a culture of consumerism. For more information contact: CPT, PO Box 6508, Chicago IL 60680-6508; website: www.prairienet.org/cpt/; tel: 312-455-1199; e-mail: cpt@igc.org; or New Call to Peacemaking, tel: 717-859-1958; e-mail: jkstoner@ptd.net.

On April 3, CPT began a presence with Sioux Native people in Pierre, South Dakota, where members of the Great Sioux Nation are demanding treaty rights. Lakota/Dakota Nation Native Americans have set up a circle of tipis on an island in the Missouri River in a nonviolent camp-in to protest a U.S. Congressional bill transferring 200,000 acres of Treaty land to the state of South Dakota. The organizers of the encampment have asked CPT to provide observers to monitor the situation. In Canada, CPT supporters have also been working with First Nations groups.

In Chiapas, CPT’s team has continued to work with members of the indigenous nonviolent group, Las Abejas (The Bees), in Chenalho, Acteal and Polho. (See PTN, Summer 1998.) In an Easter action, members of the Bees and CPTers entered a Mexican military installation and planted corn around the flagpole. (Corn is the staff of life in the Mayan world.) In many parts of Chiapas, indigenous farmers are prevented from planting corn and other subsistence crops by the presence of the military and paramilitary groups. At last report the corn was still standing. There will be a delegation to Chiapas August 1-13.

In Hebron, CPT continues its involvement with the Secure Housing campaign that seeks to prevent destruction of Palestinian residences by Israeli authorities and to rebuild some that have been destroyed. There will be a rebuilding delegation August 1-14.

Peace Brigades International

Mexico and Central America: Guatemala marked the anniversary of Guatemalan Bishop Gerardi’s assassination on April 26 with threats against his former colleagues. PBI alerted the Emergency Response Network for actions against Ronalth Ochaeta, prominent human rights defender now in charge of the REMHI Project that the Bishop spearheaded. The team in Guatemala is closed although the Central America Project group continues—it hopes to be available to do short-term emergency response in Guatemala and is working with SIPAZ in Chiapas.

SIPAZ (International Service for Peace) has released its latest report, which is available at www.nonviolence.org/sipaz/vol4no2/index.htm. You can receive the text of the articles by e-mail by sending a message to: getweb@info.lanic.utexas.edu.

There’s a new Mexico Project group that includes some of the same people as CAP. It hopes to field a team in Guerrero or Tabasco states soon, and hire a coordinator in the US by June. Potential volunteers and applicants for the position should contact: Peace Brigades International, Central America/Mexico Project Office, PO Box 3584, Chico CA 95927-3584 USA; tel: 530-345-9409.

The Haiti Project involves mostly peace education/nonviolence education work, not active accompaniment. In conjunction with an Amnesty International action alert, PBI informed members about a threat to a human rights worker.

The Belgrade-based sub-team of the Balkans Peace Team has left the area and currently is on a speaking tour in Britain. The BPTI will be reevaluating the sub-team’s future role in the area in the coming months. The Kosov@ team is active in accompaniment of refugees. For more information and to ask for monthly reports or newsletters, contact the BPTI office at
balkans-peace-team@bionic.zerberus.de.

The Colombia Project has three permanent teams in Bogota, Barrancabermeja and Turbo. There will be a Human Rights Delegation to Colombia July 27-Aug. 13. Contact Kelly MacCready, 142 Rusholme Road, Toronto, ON, Canada M6H-2Y7; e-mail: colocha@web.net; tel: 416-588-0694. From the Team’s report: “In the first few days of April, paramilitary groups operating in the Uraba region killed twelve civilians in the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado, Caño Seco and Arenal, and have disappeared three others. In addition, on March 29, an armed group identifying themselves as the Self-Defense Groups of Uraba and Chocó detained at midnight for one hour a commission charged with verifying the return process of the displaced communities staying in the city of Turbo. The commission included representatives of the Colombian government, the displaced population, Colombian human rights organizations, and Peace Brigades International. Other events of harassment against displaced and peace communities, and Colombian and international NGO’s have occurred.”

The East Timor Project is about to get off the ground, and the process for initiating it has been PBI’s fastest (7-8 months so far). Two human rights groups and their workers will be accompanied, if the project goes through. Requests have been received for a PBI presence in East Timor from Yayasan Hak, a human rights group working on legal rights and doing popular education on human rights, and Focupers, a women’s organization working on issues relating to violence against women.

October 2 is PBI Day. Peace Brigades International will celebrate it with a major event, probably in the Bay area and with a “Happy Birthday Gandhi” fundraiser. For information contact: PBI, 1904 Franklin St., Ste 505, Oakland CA 94612; tel: 510-663-2362; e-mail: pbiusa@igc.org; website: www.igc.org/pbi/usa.html.

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