Protecting the health of migrants is a matter of human rights, according to a report by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) along with the World Health Organisation and UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR). This raises important ethical and legal concerns, especially in countries bringing in measures which reduce migrants’ access to healthcare or damage their health. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/18710)
UN commissioner challenges Sri Lanka human rights denial
At a press conference in Colombo on 31 August 2013, United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay highlighted serious ongoing concerns, while recognising progress in some areas. Numerous people continue to be denied human rights, in part because so many others are in denial about abuses by state or rebel forces.
UK parliament rejects vigilante violence against Syria
The UK parliament has prudently rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s call to join in military action in Syria which would almost certainly have been unlawful. While tough measures are needed, vigilante ‘justice’ contrary to international law could have catastrophic consequences. A US attack is still likely.
The UK government is seeking to rush a new law through Parliament which would heavily limit action on political and social issues in the twelve months before an election. This threat to basic freedoms could have drastic consequences.
UK parliamentarians have invited the far-right chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, despite his role in the mass murder of minorities. The opposition Labour Party and Conservative-led government risk serious embarrassment, and worse, if they do not act now to distance themselves from this controversial politician.
Church of England: Is error really better than uncertainty?
Many people like religious as well as political leaders to be clear and decisive, even if they are sometimes wrong. However Christian faith is primarily about love and trust in a living God, rather than the pretence of certainty on all kinds of matters. On issues such as sexuality, where different views are widely held, churches should be open to differences in practice.
Making foreigners unwelcome, charging for NHS care
Tighter restrictions on free National Health Service care, supposedly aimed at ‘health tourists’, would hit many UK taxpayers who are foreign. The proposed changes might also open the door to making citizens pay at a later date, and could cause grave social and economic harm.
Dishing dirt on critics of ultra high-interest lenders
High-profile critics of loan company Wonga, which charges extremely high interest rates that can trap poor households in debt, have come under heavy pressure. Yet action is important if those most vulnerable are to be safeguarded.
In July 1983 in Sri Lanka, state-sponsored violence and undermining of democracy led to lengthy civil war and widespread suffering. Thirty years later, it would appear that many have failed to learn from the past.
Opposition by churches to harsh treatment of the poor is welcome, as further benefit cuts hit hard-up households. It is important to work with, and learn from, those with a long track record of resisting economic injustice.