Churches urged to respond effectively to human rights violations

Posted on 21 November 2003

The annual human rights training program was organized by Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Kuala Lumpur, 10-16 November, to look at the human rights violations and to focus on issues and concerns affecting greatly the lives of so many people in Asia, particularly the disempowered, marginalized, and the voiceless. 

The participants from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea and resource persons from Hong Kong, Australia and Germany felt that the human rights violations in Asia were continuing with impunity at an alarming rate. 

They expressed shock that there are societies in Asia that silently tolerate burning of women by husbands. 

The were concerned that Asian societies still segregate people because of their class, color, creed and religious convictions, and discriminate because of their gender.

That the respective governments of concerned countries in Asia that are supposed to be protecting and enhancing the promotion and respect of human rights, considering that they are signatories to the United Nations charter, are falling in doing such solemn duty to their people, they noted.

They voiced their concern that the organized peoples reactions and struggles for human rights are being challenged by those who are benefiting from unjust and immoral situations in many Asian societies where human rights are constantly being set aside. 

In a letter to the churches in Asia, the participants urged them to include training on human rights advocacy into every realm of the educational work of the churches 

They felt that the churches expression of their concern for the victims of human rights violations appeared to be quite weak in terms of providing support and rehabilitation to the victims particularly women and children. 

Referring to Jesus continuous call to respect the dignity of women and men, and his continuous act of healing those who have fallen victims to the powerful, the letter called the churches to go to that second mile by speaking out prophetically, identifying and prioritizing human rights work in their countries and encouraging ministers and laity to speak out by giving them adequate training in human rights.

It also called the churches to join with human rights groups in their respective countries and link with them to form networks of solidarity so that the voice for justice and dignity in our countries be unified. 

The participants were aware that those people who are courageous enough to question and oppose life threatening policies and laws which are unjust and immoral, are often harassed, degraded, persecuted and sometimes eliminated physically by their own government machinery like the military.

By constantly drawing strength from the wellsprings of our faith we are confident that overcoming the gigantic and seemingly insurmountable obstacles will not weaken our resolve but inspire us further to contribute our humble selves for a just, peaceful and egalitarian world, the letter said.

The letter paid tributes to the CCA for conducting the human rights training program and asked the churches to mandate the CCA to continue its work.

The first human rights training program was organised by CCA in 1997.

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