Posts Tagged ‘World Council of Churches’

Human Rights Defender Charles Harper Honoured by Argentinian Government

September 19, 2014

(From left to right — Charles Harper, Estela Barnes de Carlotto, Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto and Bishop-emeritus Aldo Etchegoyen. Photo: Argentinian mission in Geneva)

A former World Council of Churches (WCC) official from Brazil, Rev. Charles Harper, has been honoured with the Order Comendador de Mayo, a high decoration of the Argentine government for his emblematic legacy of struggles for human rights in the ecumenical movement. Harper, was WCC’s director of the Human Rights Resource Office for Latin America from 1973 to 1992. He received this honour in a ceremony held on 16 September in Geneva, Switzerland. Harper, born to an American missionary father working in Brazil, joined the anti-colonial struggle through the Committee for Assistance to Evacuees (CIMADE). At CIMADE, he worked with young people and Algerian immigrants in Marseille, France, in the early 1960s. With CIMADE and later as director of the John Knox International Reformed Centre, Harper supported church leaders persecuted in Mozambique, Angola and Cape Verde. Many of those become key actors in the independence struggles of their countries. At the WCC, Harper coördinated a number of systematic international initiatives denouncing human rights violations in Latin America. He created strong networks to protect the persecuted, imprisoned and tortured people in the region.

Accompanying human rights movements in the 1970s, the WCC was able to respond to the calls for solidarity at regional and global levels. Harper’s work at the WCC was initiated by the WCC member churches in Latin America, following a dialogue held with the WCC’s Commission on International Affairs, chaired then by the renowned jurist Dr Theo van Boven, who also received an honour from the Argentine government in 2012.

In his speech Harper pointed out the current global challenges that a new generation of human rights advocates has to deal with. “Thirty years later – today – the challenges facing the world community of nations, both as international and ecumenical family, not only persist but become more intense: The World Council of Churches, an instrument of unity and service to humanity, strives to accompany churches and groups related to them in critical situations to defend human rights and human dignity, fighting impunity, demanding punitive justice, and building just and peaceful societies.”

At the ceremony, Ambassador Alberto D’Alotto said, “Protestant churches have played an important role in defending human rights and in starting movements for human rights in my country. They helped in founding human rights organizations and sponsored their consolidation, and managed international financing much needed in the beginning…..The churches helped to find ways to overcome the information blockade imposed by the military authorities, giving international visibility to what was happening in Argentina and denouncing the military repression in international forums,” he said.

via Human Rights Defender Charles Harper Honoured by Argentinian Government – Standard Newswire.

The universality of human rights at a side event on 10 September

September 9, 2014

Another interesting side event to take place in Geneva in the margins of the UN Human Rights Council is on the topic of The universality of human rights on Wednesday 10 September from 16h30 to 18h00, Palais des Nations, Room XXIV.

It is organised  by ISHR, ARC International, Article 19 and the Association for Progressive Communications. The objective of the event is to ensure that the universality of human rights is not undermined at the national level and through initiatives at the UN Human Rights Council.  Speakers:

  • Nadine Moawad – Association for Progressive Communications
  • Fulata Moyo – World Council of Churches
  • Sunita Kujur – Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action CREA
  • Andrew Smith – Article 19 moderator

For more information: Pooja Patel at: p.patel[at]ishr.ch

via The universality of human rights | ISHR.

And a lot more about Werner Lottje: the great German human rights defender

November 16, 2013

In the presence of the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the MEA Laureates of 2013: the Joint Mobile Group, the family of Werner Lottje (his wife Margit and the children) and some 90 other participants we had on 13 November 2013 the first WERNER LOTTJE LECTURE in Berlin. It was an impressive affair and the organisers, Bread for the World and the German Institute for Human Rights, can look back on a successful launch of this annual event. There were many good tributes to Werner’s life and contribution. Igor Kalyapin of the JMG explained the terrible conditions under which his team has to operate in Russia and Margaret Sekaggya concluded with a wide-ranging overview of obstacles that HRDs all over the world face. A short, impressive film brought the person of Werner to life.

Here I am providing you the full text my own speech on this occasion, not only because I have it handy but because it concerns mostly the international part of his work:

Thinking outside the box – Werner Lottje as an international networker”

Read the rest of this entry »

Werner Lottje, German human rights pioneer, finally honored on 13 November in Berlin

November 11, 2013

If the coming days I am a bit less prolific with news on human rights defenders (maybe a welcome respite!) there is a good human rights reason: I will be in Berlin where on 13 November 2013 the first annual Werner Lottje Lecture will be inaugurated. It is an initiative by Bread for the World and the German Institute for Human Rights. As a good friend of Werner I am delighted to be allowed to speak about his enormous contribution to the human rights world as it is today: Read the rest of this entry »

WCC consultation urges protection of human rights in Papua, Indonesia

October 16, 2013

On 16 October Scoop News reports on a consultation, held on 25 September 2013 in Geneva, entitled Isolating Papua which highlighted the increasing practice of limiting access to the Papuan provinces of Indonesia. Read the rest of this entry »