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During its 1249th meeting of last March 2nd, the CM adopted:
They are particularly useful texts of which NGOs members of Pax Romana can take advantage in their own activities by insuring the follow-up of the effective implementation of these instruments by Member states.
If you have knowledge of breaches of these Recommendations and Guidelines do not hesitate to communicate them to me.
On 15 March the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will hold a thematic debate on building inclusive societies and the need for collective action in the face of extremism and xenophobia.
I am writing to you today, as I have insisted since the beginning of my dialogue with the Committee of Ministers, on the fact that it is of the utmost importance to us, INGOs, to have the possibility to contribute to this discussion and ensure that the voice of civil society is heard at the Council of Europe. Through this written contribution, your experiences, opinions and commitments can be taken into account in the decision-making process at the Council of Europe.
Below is my presentation dated 12th November. I do not think that our position would have changed much in the last three months. The main difference between November and today is the recent announcement of the date for the Referendum on Membership of the European Community, which is filling and will probably continue to fill most of our newspapers and radio and television media for the next three months, almost certainly at the expense of coverage of the migrant and other world situations. Those of us who are internationally-minded almost despair of the insular views of our Press,
More than one hundred Muslim scholars and intellectuals from over 120 countries, along with leaders from diverse religious groups and nationalities, recently gathered in Marrakesh, Morocco to mark the 1400th Anniversary of the Charter of Medina, a constitutional contract which Muslims believe Muhammad had made with the people of Medina to guarantee religious liberty of all people of that city.
Pawel Broszkowski – vice-president of the Warsaw KIK has outlined the current situation in the European Union as seen from the Polish perspective. In his statement he said among others, that “Political parties active in many European countries like in France, Netherlands or the United Kingdom and those who came to power in such countries as Hungary and recently in Poland, display nationalistic and xenophobic mood and openly show their unfriendly attitudes toward the EU”.
That the European Union is today in crisis is a trivial statement. However, I wish to say that the European Union is the world’s greatest political achievement and cannot be compared to anything else. This is great project that required complex economic, institutional activities and enormous political will and vision. We must not waste what was achieved.
The situation in Poland is very strange. The new government thinks he can do whatever he wants, trying to make the work of tribunal impossible. We are waiting for European commission report to correct it. But the government will not obey. Now we have protests in the streets against government’s dictatorial tendencies. The party won under very traditional catholic slogans. The bishops could not say anything, it was in line of the church’s teaching, but in a pharisean way.
In 2015 Germany hosted 1.1 million refugees. Many continue to arrive. Even without right to asylum they must leave their country. Refugees must be welcome, find a housing, and the integration process must start immediately. There are many volunteers who support governmental actions. There are different responses in population: support the action of Merkel, or oppose to it. There is a debate about the limits of integration.
3 years ago at the World Assembly of the Christian Life Communities in Lebanon there were discussions about the increasing global issue of refugee and migration crisis. At the time in Lebanon, there was approximately 25% of all the inhabitants - refugees, mainly from Syria. Father General Nicholas Adolfo SJ, which is both general of the Jesuit order and ecclesial assistant, has underlined the necessity for CLC to address the issues of migration and refugees in our ministry.
The issue of migrant divides Europe between welcoming countries and those who believe that this will create problems and then reduce the number of entries. The big problem comes from countries who wnat no migrant at all.
Migrant is a general term which includes asylum seekers, and those looking to improve their livelihood, especially from refugee camps.
There is no unanimity in Europe on how to deal with migrants, even the bishops are very cautious in their statements: they say that one must welcome because we are Christians, but they will not support such a policy for their country. COMECE had to remove two articles criticizing the policy of the Central European countries.
Migrants are not happy to stop here, they seek northern Europe. Few romanians oppose because it would change the composition of Europe. But we must also practice Christian hospitality, as said by the Pope. (But the country is predominantly Orthodox).
We have a long history with the Turkish, who have represented a threat to us, although there is now a well-integrated Turkish population, with a tradition of peaceful coexistence.
There was also an Arab migration in large cities, to study medicine for example. But this time the arrival is massive.
European Christians must have a hospitality speech, but we must also negotiate the situation in the Arab countries
Slovakia is mainly a transit country for migrants to go to Germany, Scandinavian countries... But people are between the need to help them and the fear for a risk islamisation of the country. Because of the coming elections, migrants become an electoral theme. As christians we must help people to see them as human beings, without forgetting that they have to comply with the national rules.
We are all conscious that we live times of an extraordinary historic intensity: terrorists attacks almost everywhere in the world, rise of fanaticisms, questioning of certain fundamental liberties in democratic countries raise questions. If we decided to participate in this meeting of the workgroup, it is because we are conscious that better understanding history or the histories will give citizens of democratic societies the possibility to protect themselves against the Manicheanism and the manipulations as well as to deepen the fact to live together.
The XXI century puts us in a different context from the past, in terms of the presence of the Catholic Church in the public sphere of thought. In this context of weakening of the religious culture in our society we firmly believe that what the Christian proposal offers to the world is fully in force. The Moviment de Professionals Catòlics de Barcelona, on its 25th anniversary presents this manifesto:
I When tension in our world is too great and when frustrations and fear attains high levels among people and entire groups of people, ordinary everyday language and the language of secular politics is not powerful enough to express those emotions, people spontaneously reach for the language of religion. Political leaders – even in the so-called secular societies which have scrupulously striven to separate religion and politics – use the power of religious rhetoric and religious symbols. Once again the world is “bedeviled” and people are dehumanized. Political enemies are no longer perceived simply as people with different opinions and interests but as the army of the “Great Satan”. If religion becomes a weapon in political conflicts it can truly have destructive powers. Nuclear weapons turn human settlements into dust and ruins. Religion, when used as a weapon, transforms the landscape of political conflicts into a battle scene in an apocalyptic cosmic war between Good and Evil.
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe : PACE
Adopting a report on the protection and role of human rights defenders, the Legal Affairs Committee has expressed deep concern about increased reprisals against them in certain Council of Europe member states, including Azerbaijan, the Russian Federation and Turkey. It also voiced particular concern about the situation in annexed Crimea and other territories outside states’ control.
In 2005-2006, I was working at the FORUM-ASIA Secretariat based in Bangkok. As the conflict escalated in 2006, I decided to go home to Sri Lanka. When I eventually returned to Sri Lanka in early 2007, the experience and skills I had gained during my time in Bangkok, especially personal and professional contacts with human rights defenders (HRDs) in Asia and with regional and international organisations, proved to be crucial and lifesaving.
I left Sri Lanka in late 2004, a time of relative calm provided by a ceasefire. Still human rights abuses took place regularly, including killings, child soldier recruitment, and regular violations of the ceasefire by both the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan Government.
But I came back to chaos. There was large scale enforced disappearances, extra-judicial executions, mass displacement, forcible recruitment including of children, and severe restrictions on traveling and communication. It was also a time where HRDs, including non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers, humanitarian workers, independent journalists, clergy, and opposition politicians with critical views of the Government, were killed, disappeared, detained or threatened. Domestic human rights protection mechanisms, such as the Judiciary, National Human Rights Commission and the Ad Hoc Commissions of Inquiries, had become completely ineffective.
“Opening up the sails to the wind of the Spirit”
The International Council of Pax Romana-ICMICA met in Rome in October 2015. Together, we celebrated the 100th meeting of the International Council and the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. We reflected on the life of the movement, listened to the local reality of our national federations and studied the state of global governance with a public lecture. From this reflection, and in light of the Year of Mercy, we have launched the preparation process for the next Plenary Assembly which will take place in Barcelona (Cataluña Spain):
from Friday October 28th 2016,
to Tuesday November 1st, All Saints Day.
The immigration into Europe had its peak in the middle of last year. Although it was not without antecedents, it affected the people of Europe and the EU institutions unexpectedly. On the surface, migration is an issue of public measures to be taken against aliens. For Christians, it is first of all a humanitarian issue, or rather a question of good conscience.
From a historical perspective, migration means demographics movements that can be considered quite typical. It is still a challenge for the modern Europe because, not to mention the emigration into North America, migration cannot be seen as normal, following the industrial revolution that has entailed urbanisation, and offered people to settle down as the subjects of the nation states.
European integration has marked our history for over 60 years. After a long series of wars, she wanted to make it impossible by creating solidarity among peoples. Experience had shown the volatility of intergovernmental treaties while solidarity between peoples could be a more solid foundation. After years of development, now is the opposite occuring. Nationalism develops, rejecting not only religious minorities, migrants, but also other European nations. It is present in the traditionally Catholic nations such as Poland, Hungary, Bavaria ...). The external challenges, financial, commercial or terrorist threats that require solidarity, seem on the contrary to burst it: return of internal borders, separatism .... Can we no longer rely on the solidarity between peoples?