Christian Peacemaker Teams gain peace prize
Christian Peacemaker Teams, whose members were recently taken hostage and then released in Iraq, are to be awarded a new peace prize.
In its 50th year of operation, the German Mennonite Peace Committee has announced it is to award the newly founded Michael Sattler Peace Award to the group.
The Award is in memory of the of the reformation-era Anabaptist, Michael Sattler, who was burned at the stake on May 20, 1527 in Rottenburg, Germany. Sattler, his wife and other members of the Anabaptist fellowship in Horb, Germany were tried in Rottenburg because of their non-violent Christian faith.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) through their unarmed presence around the world, are part of a growing movement of non-violent alternatives to armed conflict.
CPT have trained, skilled, international teams to support local efforts toward nonviolent peacemaking. They 'get in the way' of injustice through direct nonviolent intervention, public witness and reporting to the wider world community. Their peace team work engages congregations, meetings and support groups at home to play a key advocacy role with policy makers.
Currently there are CPT Teams in Baghdad, Hebron/Palestine, Columbia and the US-Mexico border. Teams have worked in Gaza, Haiti, Bosnia, Chechnya, Chiapas/Mexico, Puerto Rico and different places in the US and Canada.
Of particular note has been CPTís work in Iraq which began during the threat of war, before Coalition Forces entered the country. CPT workers have helped to document the torture and other human rights violations in US military prisons.
CPT advocated for the release of all prisoners that were wrongly apprehended and held without trial. With the cooperation of Muslim human rights groups, CPT helped to found îMuslim Peacemaker Teams.î
Between November 2005 and March 2006 four CPTers were kidnapped, including US citizen Tom Fox who was murdered during in captivity. The remaining three were later released.
CPT was founded after a speech given by the theologian Ronald Sider at the Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France in 1984. Sider called Christians to show bravery and self-sacrifice in a similar way to soldiers. The three historic peace churches, (Mennonites, Quakers and Church of the Brethren) developed the CPT concept out of a vision of a non-violent îpeace-army.î
Since then, many different churches have given personnel and financial support.
CPT offices can be found in Chicago, Toronto and London.
CPT calls churches to support wholeheartedly the development and practical application of non-violent alternatives.
The Award is supported by the Evangelical Church of Rottenburg, the Catholic Peace organization Pax Christi and the City of Rottenburg.
The award ceremony will be held in Rottenburg / Neckar on Saturday May 20, 2006.