“Discrimination and statelessness live side by side; it is no coincidence that most stateless people belong to racial, linguistic and religious minorities.” So says the communique issued at the end of the World Council of Churches consultation on stateless people held in Washington DC from from 27 February to 1 March 2013. This is the full document, made available by the WCC.
Violence against women is one of the most widespread abuses of human rights around the world, says Tanja Haque, CAFOD’s Gender Advisor. Women and girls in every culture and society are affected by violence and the facts are appalling: acts of violence against women and girls cause more deaths than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. The struggle against gender-based violence goes on across the world, and the Church can and must play its role in this.
How are we to assess Pope Benedict XVI? What does his time as pontiff say about the present and future of the papacy? Weaving his way adroitly through a recent sea-wave of both condemnation and adulation, Armenian Orthodox ecumenical consultant Dr Harry Hagopian, who is also an Ekklesia associate, finds himself in agreement on many points with third-wave feminist critic Joumana Haddad, while also feeling that graciousness and acknowledgement of Benedict's strengths - including his theological reflections - better serves the cause of forward movement inside and outside the Church.
2013 is set to be an important year for both the Catholic Church, which elects a new pope, and Croatia, which will become the 28th member of the European Union (EU), writes Alex Sakalis for openDemocracy. These two entities share a long history, with the former wielding significant, yet often ignored, influence on political life in the latter.
One of the possibly unintended consequences of Benedict’s announcement that he is to step down as Pope - something unprecedented in the modern era - is that it might set in motion a dynamic that creates renewed opportunities for ecumenical dialogue by offering a new perspective on the role and place of the papacy, writes long time observer Dr Stephen Brown. He offers an assessment of both the plusses and minuses of the pontiff's period in office from the perspective of inter-Christian relations.
Life in the European Union is one of continuing political negotiation. No political realist is surprised that national leaders constantly seek to protect and advance the interests of their country, says social theologian Dr Graeme Smith. The European Union is the place of permanent dialogue between different interests, and more substantially different political cultures, interestingly mirroring some different Protestant and Catholic instincts. Meanwhile, ecumenical lessons can help us to see why it's negotiation all the way, in a positive sense.
Israeli politicians should forsake their land-grab policies and in the process help sow the seeds of hope and peace for two peoples who vie for legitimacy and rights over the same small parcel of land, says Dr Harry Hagopian, regional experts and Ekklesia associate. After all, it is axiomatic that citizenry rights are redundant unless they are vested with sovereignty, too.
In years of conflict Colombia has seen five million people displaced, 60,000 declared as “missing”, thousands killed, and a million hectares of land snatched away from the rightful owners. Dr Marcelo Schneider addresses the justice that is bound up with peace in a troubled land, and sets the scene for the work of the the Programme of Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia (PEAC), inspired by the WCC’s Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.
Christianity and the Law have been in a more or less constant state of relational flux over the course of history, observes barrister Andrew Worthley, considering two of the recent European Court of Human Rights cases brought on grounds of religious discrimination. The idea that iron-clad secular law and immutable religion are on a collision course misunderstands both law and religion, as well as the nuances of history and of texts, he suggests.
Now the dust is settling a little on the Israeli election result, what are we to make of it? Regional expert and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian provides a sober assessment, focussing especially on Yair Lapid, kingmaker and leader of Yesh Atid (There is a Future). Insofar as Israel-Palestine is concerned, Lapid should insist upon a more centrist view that would stop the unremitting colonisation of Palestinian lands and encourage saving the last gasp of the two-state solution, he suggests.