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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.
More than 60 Church leaders, journalist, advocates and human rights activists took part in three days advocacy training held in Kathmandu.
The training dealt with biblical perspective on human rights and social justice, general United Nations human rights system and basic advocacy strategies.
Training was organized by Religious Liberty Forum and hosted by ITEEN with the Support from World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission (WEA LRC) on 25-27 August 2015. A delegation of five team members from National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL); General Secretary- Godfrey Yogarajah, Director for Missions- Mahesh De Mel, Media & Communications- Jovita Arulanantham, Research and Prayer coordinator- Mike Gabriel and Legal and Advocacy Coordinator- Yamini Ravindran facilitated the entire training sessions.
Organized during the world day of prayer for human rights defenders and peace builders, this conference gathered members or groups from Kenya, India, Malaysia, Poland, USA. This first part includes a presentation of the program, a prayer time from Africa a spiritual song form Malaysia, and an exposure on the situation and the action with Ukrain, presented by a polish member.
A multicultural and multifaith group of forty people gathered in Bangkok on November 8, 2014 to mark the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted. Convened by the Christian Youth Development Movement and International Christian Concern, the spirit of the event was captured in the phrase: "If one suffers, we all suffer".
The gathering included Christians, Sikhs and Buddhists who came together to remember the persecuted and to share what their religions offer to the other religions to encourage the acceptance of diversity and respect for all irrespective of creed, ethnicity or nationality.
“Our world is full of immense diversity”, convener Shamiel Saleem said. “And that diversity is reflected in the variety of people at our event. There were people from different countries - Australia, the US, Thailand, India, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, United Kingdom, China, Philippines, Burma and Pakistan.”
For their Excellencies the Ambassadors of the UNESCO Member States
• Concerned by the international news and its implications for the future of peace,
• And building on the Founding Declaration of UNESCO’s Member States “that since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be erected”,
These are contributions to the next Report of Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox on ‘good practices” about relationship between Human Rights and the Environmental Protection. Deadline: end of August
The Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox was appointed by the HRC resolution 19/10, since August 2012 to:
• Study the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, in consultation with relevant stakeholders;
• Identify, promote and exchange views on best practices relating to the use of human rights obligations and commitments to inform, support and strengthen environmental policy making, especially in the area of environmental protection;