Quakers are gearing up to celebrate the 60th anniversary of their award of the Nobel Peace Prize.
On 10 December 2007 it will be sixty years since Quakers were awarded the Prize for their relief work helping displaced people and those facing poverty in Europe in the years before, during and after the Second World War.
Sixty years on the world context has changed but the needs in it have not, say Quakers, as they continue to work for peace, for example most recently, by sending human rights observers to Israel-Palestine.
Since August 2002, 426 human rights observers, called Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) from 14 countries have served in Israel-Palestine. Forty five of these EAs were from Britain and Ireland. A further 14 from Britain and Ireland are serving in 2007.
Floresca Karanasou, Middle East Programme Manager for Quaker Peace and Social Witness recently visited Israel-Palestine. "While the conflict continues it is really important that we witness what is happening and speak about what we see, which is why we remain committed to our work in the Middle East on behalf of Churches in Britain and Ireland." she said.
"It is very clear the people we offer protection to very much want us to continue the presence. More and more people in the Occupied Territories at checkpoints and barrier gates, as well as Israeli peace activists, recognise the jackets worn by the Ecumenical Accompaniers."
The Ecumenical Accompaniers offer protection through their non-violent presence. Their role includes monitoring and reporting violations of human rights and international humanitarian law; supporting acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Palestinian and Israeli activists; engaging in public policy advocacy; and standing in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the Occupation.