The concept of non-discrimination lies at the heart of human rights, says Navi Pillay. For this reason, it has been designated the official theme of this Human Rights Day, which occurs every year on the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
Ecumenical Accompaniers, who provide protective presence and human rights monitoring throughout the West Bank, regularly visit the villages of the South Hebron hills. These isolated communities struggle with the combined challenges of land confiscation and violence by settlers on the one hand and movement and building restrictions imposed by the Israeli military on the other.
Church activists participating in the World Council of Churches' United Nations Advocacy Week meetings in New York delved deeply into the tragedies and injustices of the current bloody conflict in Colombia. Mark Beach tells the human story behind the politics.
The rapidly developing field of stem cell research mobilises immense amounts of money in private and public grants, says Celia Deane-Drummond. But it also raises deep ethical questions regarding health justice and the dignity of human life.
America can either tolerate constant and crippling conflict, or recognise that the yearning for peace is universal, and strengthen its resolve to end conflicts around the world, say US Christian leaders, echoing President Obama's words back to him. They are calling for a new approach to Afghanistan based on "a humanitarian and development surge".
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago, many critics have been quick to sign liberation theology's death certificate, says Walter Altmann. But its biblical concern with justice still continues to resonate.
The Charter for Compassion seeks to bring people together across the varieties of global faith and belief, in recognition of the fact that "in separateness lies the world’s great misery, in compassion lies the world’s true strength."
The climate-change campaign needs a sense of can-do enthusiasm, says Giles Fraser. It would be really something if faith leaders were able to help replace gloomy defeatism with a broader version of something Christians call hope.
The churches contributed to the peaceful revolution in central and eastern Europe as well as to the ending of the apartheid regime in southern Africa, says Konrad Raider. Now the ecumenical movement has accepted the challenge to overcome violence as its special vocation.
Today (13 March 2015) 26 senior figures from various faith groups published a letter in The Times newspaper calling on the UK government to join with others “to develop a robust plan of action that will lead us to a world free of nuclear weapons”. Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Team of the Free Churches, provides the background to this initiative.
The managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine recently went to Damascus, where he interviewed President Bashar al-Assad. Ekklesia associate and regional expert Dr Harry Hagopian assesses where the president stands in the tragic and bloody mess that exists in Syria at the moment, where ordinary people are caught between competing barbarisms.