Kember still evaluating Christian peacemaker's role in Iraq

By staff writers
April 15, 2006

Kember still evaluating Christian peacemaker's role in Iraq

-15/04/06

The BBC's Fergal Keane has said that Norman Kember, like other Christian peacemnakers, is still in a process of evaluating the circumstances surrounding the work of Christian peacemakers in Iraq.

It comes several weeks after Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) of which Kember is a member, announced that they had initiated a review of their work in Iraq.

Speaking to the BBC's Today Programme ahead of his exclusive interview with released hostage Norman Kember to be broadcast at 9.00 (GMT) today, Keane also reported Kember's continued commitment to non-violence.

Asked whether Kember questioned the wisdom of going to Iraq, Keane replied; "He is in a process now [of evaluation]. Not the motivation, he is clear about that that as a pacifist and Christian it was his obligation to go to Iraq. He is looking at the wisdom of going to the Mosque."

Norman Kember and his colleagues were kidnapped after leaving a Baghdad mosque where they had met with a Sunni cleric to talk about peacemaking between Shia and Sunni groups.

Christian Peacemakers emphasise that in Iraq they were involved in a war zone and so dangers are high for Iraqis, visiting soldiers, peacemakers, contractors, journalists, and aid workers.

CPT had worked in Iraq, previously without incident, for the past three years, with over 100 short-term and long-term persons.

During this time CPT developed an extensive security protocol covering a variety of contingencies. The group does not discuss the details publicly in order to maintain security. They do not publish their travel plans nor provide particulars of their itineraries and appointments schedule in advance of their arrival in the country.

Christian peacemakers also point out that armoured cars and armed security guards are targets for attack themselves, and have not stopped the kidnapping of dozens of contractors and journalists in Iraq who used them.

CPT's 28 day, live-in training is one of the most extensive of all the peace team organizations. CPT's training has been used as a model for the trainings of other peace teams, such as the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq and World Council of Church's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI).

Additionally, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has requested that CPT members lead their training.

Short-term delegations, of which Norman Kember was a member, receive extensive orientation before leaving home in both written materials and verbal briefings and have security briefings in both Amman and Baghdad upon arrival.

All applicants to CPT must submit a personal statement and sign a statement of personal responsibility in which they agree that they accept the risks involved in entering a conflict zone including the risks of kidnapping, injury and death. The nature of these risks is communicated a number of times with delegates, and they are encouraged to discuss these with their families, before joining a delegation.

CPT has been sending Peacemakers into regions of lethal conflict since 1993 in response to invitations issued from the regions in question. They believe that they undertake thorough, if not more thorough, analysis of possible project locations as governments who send troops to these areas.

Partners in Iraq, Haiti, Chiapas, Colombia, Palestine and North American indigenous communities have told CPT that they have saved their lives or made it possible for them to do the work they need to do to confront human rights abuses.

In Iraq, CPT has worked to expose abuses of detainees in the hopes of stopping it, accompanying communities and individuals at risk and encouraging local human rights groups as they seek to build, for the long term, a civil society.

Kember still evaluating Christian peacemaker's role in Iraq

-15/04/06

The BBC's Fergal Keane has said that Norman Kember, like other Christian peacemnakers, is still in a process of evaluating the circumstances surrounding the work of Christian peacemakers in Iraq.

It comes several weeks after Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) of which Kember is a member, announced that they had initiated a review of their work in Iraq.

Speaking to the BBC's Today Programme ahead of his exclusive interview with released hostage Norman Kember to be broadcast at 9.00 (GMT) today, Keane also reported Kember's continued commitment to non-violence.

Asked whether Kember questioned the wisdom of going to Iraq, Keane replied; "He is in a process now [of evaluation]. Not the motivation, he is clear about that that as a pacifist and Christian it was his obligation to go to Iraq. He is looking at the wisdom of going to the Mosque."

Norman Kember and his colleagues were kidnapped after leaving a Baghdad mosque where they had met with a Sunni cleric to talk about peacemaking between Shia and Sunni groups.

Christian Peacemakers emphasise that in Iraq they were involved in a war zone and so dangers are high for Iraqis, visiting soldiers, peacemakers, contractors, journalists, and aid workers.

CPT had worked in Iraq, previously without incident, for the past three years, with over 100 short-term and long-term persons.

During this time CPT developed an extensive security protocol covering a variety of contingencies. The group does not discuss the details publicly in order to maintain security. They do not publish their travel plans nor provide particulars of their itineraries and appointments schedule in advance of their arrival in the country.

Christian peacemakers also point out that armoured cars and armed security guards are targets for attack themselves, and have not stopped the kidnapping of dozens of contractors and journalists in Iraq who used them.

CPT's 28 day, live-in training is one of the most extensive of all the peace team organizations. CPT's training has been used as a model for the trainings of other peace teams, such as the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq and World Council of Church's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Israel and Palestine (EAPPI).

Additionally, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) has requested that CPT members lead their training.

Short-term delegations, of which Norman Kember was a member, receive extensive orientation before leaving home in both written materials and verbal briefings and have security briefings in both Amman and Baghdad upon arrival.

All applicants to CPT must submit a personal statement and sign a statement of personal responsibility in which they agree that they accept the risks involved in entering a conflict zone including the risks of kidnapping, injury and death. The nature of these risks is communicated a number of times with delegates, and they are encouraged to discuss these with their families, before joining a delegation.

CPT has been sending Peacemakers into regions of lethal conflict since 1993 in response to invitations issued from the regions in question. They believe that they undertake thorough, if not more thorough, analysis of possible project locations as governments who send troops to these areas.

Partners in Iraq, Haiti, Chiapas, Colombia, Palestine and North American indigenous communities have told CPT that they have saved their lives or made it possible for them to do the work they need to do to confront human rights abuses.

In Iraq, CPT has worked to expose abuses of detainees in the hopes of stopping it, accompanying communities and individuals at risk and encouraging local human rights groups as they seek to build, for the long term, a civil society.

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