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Statement from the Youth Forum

For the Dignity of Life in Asia 1

We, the youth of Asia, affirm the value of life, dignity of all of God’s creation, the critical role of the youth in transforming the church and society. We heed the call of Christ to be bearers of peace.

We identify with the suffering of our brothers and sisters throughout Asia and stand in solidarity with them. Thus, we express our concerns and recommendations on issues that affect the young peoples of Asia to this Assembly. They are:

1. On Youth and Violence

We affirm the sacredness of life. All of God’s creation has the right to enjoy life to the fullest. However, violence is adversely affecting young people in all and through all aspects of their life. Thus, we denounce all forms of violence that degrade the dignity of young people.

Recommendations:

  • We recommend that the CCA continue the inter-religious peace building process among regions, NCCs and member churches that suffer due to religious conflicts, and ask that the involvement of young people be considered a priority.
  • We support the role of the DOV and we reiterate the 2000 Youth Forum Statement request for a “special CCA Youth task force to deal with violence in Asia” among the youth. We ask the CCA to appoint this task force.
  • We ask that the CCA and Asian churches take an active role in making the DOV a priority in their areas and particularly with young people on a local level.

2. On the Human Rights of Youth

The human rights of young people are being violated. We are passionate about our churches in actively defending and upholding human rights, and opposing violations thereto. We denounce human rights violations of youth activists all over Asia who have been persecuted because of their progressive social involvements.

Recommendations:

  • We implore the CCA to work with relevant organizations and people’s movements to ensure the protection and safety of young people, and the respect of human rights.
  • We ask the CCA, Asian NCCs and churches to condemn repressive regimes that undermine human rights that create and encourage the aforementioned.

3. On the Holistic Health of Young People

The health crisis of young people is something we cannot accept. We are concerned for both the physical and mental well-being of young people across Asia.

Recommendations:

  • We recommend that CCA formulate a health education campaign surrounding the above-mentioned issues.
  • We ask the CCA to appeal to respective governments to effectively address situations of health of young people.
  • We ask the CCA to join the broader people’s campaign to appeal to governments to reallocate military spending to health and basic social services.

4. On Education and Employment

We believe that resources and opportunities must be made readily available and accessible for the education and employment of young people in Asia.

Recommendation:

  • We ask the CCA to speak out against the privatization of educational institutions and the decline of availability of resources and opportunities for all young people.

5. On the Youth in Church and Society

We believe that we are “the present” of the church and society. We believe in our creativity and our vision to transform the world. Therefore, we should be given every opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways. We should not remain only in the periphery of societal and church life.

Recommendations:

  • We request participation of the youth in all levels in the churches, NCCs and CCA.
  • Article 2b) ii) of the Rules and Regulations in the CCA Constitution states that “Churches with a membership of over 100,000 members may appoint a second voting delegate who shall be under the age of 30 years.” We ask that the General Assembly fully implement and enforce the said provision.
  • We urge the CCA to organize consultations and workshops on the theology of power in our churches relating to the subsequent disempowerment of young people.

6. On Raising Awareness on Youth Issues among Churches

We acknowledge the need of raising awareness on youth issues in our churches. It is crucial that our church communities in Asia are conscious of these issues and should be active in their response.

Recommendations:

  • We recommend that the CCA and its NCCs and churches find ways to raise awareness on the issues raised in our Forum Statement.
  • We ask that the CCA, Asian NCCs and churches be actively involved in sex education with young people in churches and society, as well as further studies regarding sexuality.

7. On Student Ministry of CCA

We note the decline of student ministry in Asia. The ecumenical youth movement must be seen and felt in colleges and universities across the continent. We support the building of ecumenism in educational institutions.

Recommendation:

  • We ask the CCA, NCCs and churches to support the fostering of ecumenical relations in educational campuses.

Further, for the larger context, we bring the following issues before the churches in Asia:
1. Continuation of DOV
2. Social responsibilities of governments
3. Human security (including terrorism)
4. Unity of churches
5. Environmental concerns
6. Migrant workers’ rights
7. Indigenous people’s rights
8. State repression

We, the youth of Asia, are united in the struggle in building communities of peace for all. Together with our churches and NCCs, we commit our talents, time and energy for the fulfilment of God’s shalom.

NOTES :

1 This statement was issued by the CCA Pre-Assembly Youth Forum held at Lotus Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 26-29 March 2005.

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