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Progressio: Help bring justice to victims of corporate abuse

In a world where so many workers, especially those in developing countries, suffer because of the actions of transnational corporations, Progressio is asking that pressure be put on Theresa May to work for a ‘binding treaty on business and human rights!’

To help bring justice to victims of corporate abuse, and uphold the rights of ordinary people Click here

*** NJPN Action of the Week *** Save the Children: Take action against attacks on Yemeni children

Just a few weeks ago, we were all shocked by the photo of the little boy covered in blood and dust in the back of an ambulance in Syria.

But it’s not just in Syria that children are facing appalling violence. In Yemen they’re being killed and injured at their schools, in their playgrounds, and even in hospital.

Yet our Government has a chance to help keep these children safe. Will you email your MP to urge them to take it?

In just a few weeks’ time, at a UN Human Rights Council meeting, states could agree to launch an international, independent investigation into attacks on Yemen’s children.

This would help hold perpetrators to account and help prevent more children being harmed.

Take action here

NJPN Conference 2016: The start of a journey that I hope to continue for years to come.

A first time attendee at the Swanwick conference reflects on her experience of the weekend and “the feeling of purpose and calling that became stronger and stronger as I chatted to people over tea, over meals and during break-out sessions”

“When I was asked to write something for the newsletter, about my experiences of this year’s NJPN conference, I thought it would be relatively easy – just write up what I’d seen and heard, make some conclusions, and job done. As a first time attendee, I’d come home full of inspiration and ideas, ready to write something down. But when I sat down in front of a blank screen, ready to type, I found that I couldn’t write anything at all. Writers block to the extreme.
So what was the problem? I’ve thought about it again and again over the last month, every time I try to write something and fail again. So I decided that instead of giving up completely I would write what I felt I could not write.
I couldn’t write down the feeling I got when I arrived at the conference and was welcomed with warmth and acceptance, like an old friend. That feeling of ‘coming home’ that can only be felt when you’ve been away from a place where you belong, for far too long. It was a feeling that only increased over the weekend, as I listened to speeches that seemed to speak directly to me, to my questions, my concerns and my ongoing self-doubt. A feeling of purpose and calling that became stronger and stronger as I chatted to people over tea, over meals and during break-out sessions. A feeling that these were people that I was supposed to meet, with thoughts and ideas that I needed to hear, and a strength of conviction that I needed to feel.
I couldn’t write down the feeling of personal grace and blessing that I experienced as I sat among so many people of common purpose and faith. How this reverberated with my own faith and conviction to live and work for the common good. How could I describe the feeling that I had when someone laid their hands on me and blessed me with such sincere love and joy that I didn’t know how to respond, except to say thank you. How could I describe that at all?
And how could I explain the feelings I had as I watched my young son blossom over the weekend, making new friends and immersing himself in the children’s programme. Visibly growing as a person, and bringing tears to my eyes as he spoke at the final liturgy, barely visible behind the tall lectern, telling us all that bullying must stop. How could I describe that moment in any sensible way?
The truth is, I couldn’t. I went to the conference with the hope of finding out more about Justice and Peace work, making new connections with others in the network, and gaining new ideas for my work in my own parish. I came away with all of these things, but I also found so much more. I found thoughts and feelings and an unexpected calling that I just couldn’t put into words and the start of a journey that I hope to continue for years to come. The only word that I could come up with was ‘profound’. I hope that next year I’ll be able to come up with a few more. Until then, I will humbly make use of someone else’s words, as they echo the sense of calling and faithful first steps that I brought away from the conference:

“Traveller there is no path. The path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado.

Thank you all for your part in these first steps.

Katrina Rigby, All Saints Parish, Newport, South Wales.

Middle East Council of Churches convenes in Jordan

The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) held its 11th General Assembly this week, bringing leaders from regional churches together to pursue a unified ecclesiastical voice in the midst of human suffering that is permeating the region.

More information here

Catholic Bishops’ Conference: Refugee Crisis – Open Your Hearts

Speaking from a meeting of European bishops in the Holy Land, Cardinal Vincent Nichols reminded us that although the current situation is complex we can do more. He further states that refugees must be seen “not as outsiders but as brothers and sisters who are in need”

To hear more click here

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)

Unlike TTIP, the very similar CETA (The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) is on its way. CETA has already been finalised and negotiators are hoping to get the toxic deal ratified by the European parliament at the beginning of next year. Global Justice Now was central to the efforts to derail TTIP – now we need your help for a big final push against the other toxic trade deal.

CETA is a huge threat to our environment. Many Canadian companies looking to invest abroad are mining, drilling and fracking companies, intent on extracting raw materials and making maximum profits. Canadian firms are currently suing several governments for denying them access to oil, gold and uranium, mostly through environmental concerns. CETA could allow those companies to sue our government as well

Please email your members of the European Parliament now and stop CETA

Seeking Sanctuary – September Update

Dear Friends,

Have you been in a restaurant recently and become impatient if your food has not arrived after half an hour or so? The migrants in Calais face up to a four hour wait in the sun to get their one meal of the day – so it is no wonder if tensions rise. The independent restaurants, although ‘reprieved’ by a court judgement, are still unable to cook food as this has been banned by the authorities. And at the moment, the ‘official’ kitchen only serves 3900 of the 9000+ meals actually needed if people are to eat once a day, hence the vital contribution of the other kitchens such as the ‘Refugee Community Kitchen’ which now cooks 2500 free meals per day. We were in Calais and the ‘jungle’ last week and we were able to give the kitchen €650 which had been donated by a generous parish in the North West of England. The other kitchens that provide free meals have also increased their weekly output by a total of 1000 over the past fortnight to try to compensate for the current closure of other outlets. Sadly, the ‘Belgium Kitchen’ fears that it may soon have to close down due to a lack of donations.

The kitchen estimates that at least £1.50 is needed to feed someone each day, so many thousands of pounds are needed just to keep the kitchen going for a week. Where possible, ingredients are delivered to different areas of the camp for people who have pots and pans to do their own cooking, as this provides both autonomy and a degree of dignity – but gas bottles are in short supply.

On our visit last week we were able to deliver several hundred books to ‘Jungle Books’, which is based in several shacks near the Eritrean Church, and manned by some committed volunteers. There is a keen appetite to learn and to keep informed. There are many people with professional qualifications who are keen to keep up their knowledge and learn English terminology, not least for future CV’s. Outside the shack an Adult Education Class was in full flow and youngsters were studying in another shelter. Gifts of exercise books and pencils are much appreciated.

It’s always a pleasure to visit the Eritrean Church. In this oasis of peace and tranquillity members of the Eritrean Community provide a welcome and spiritual refreshment. In front of the Church was a newly painted picture of the Virgin Mary and Christ in honour of the Assumption – attached – and at the side of the Church a young man was painting a scene of the Last Supper. In the midst of all the rubble and dirt a flower garden has been created as a contrast to the rather dismal surroundings – and there are even two chickens!

As Christmas approaches many of you will be thinking about how best to support the migrants in Calais. We are able to give advice on where cash donations can be sent. We are also planning to repeat the initiative from last year – ‘little bags of love and hope’. We are yet to establish a final list, but it is likely that typical contents could include items from the following list, suitable for the young men who make up the vast majority of the camp residents: a wind-up torch (or torch plus spare batteries), deodorant, scarf, hat, gloves (fabric or leather – not knitted) and a small pack of nuts or dried fruit. If you know of a Faith Community or other group interested in taking part in this initiative, please do let us know so that we can help to make the process as efficient and effective as possible.

With best wishes,

Phil and Ben.

About ‘Seeking Sanctuary’. There are now some 9000 migrants in and around Calais (August 2016) and many more near Dunkirk . ‘Seeking Sanctuary’ aims to raise awareness about this situation and is organising basic humanitarian assistance through Faith Communities and Community Organisations in partnership with experienced aid workers.

for more information click here

*** NJPN Action of the Week *** SumOfUs: Samsung – 76 workers are dead

Samsung deliberately kept secret the harmful chemicals its South Korean workers were exposed to, fearing its competitors would learn trade secrets. 76 workers are now dead.

Most of the dead were in their 20s or 30s. One former worker—a breast cancer survivor—reported that Samsung brought in “uninformed kids” and treated them like they were “disposable cups.”

Samsung repeatedly refused to reveal the carcinogenic chemicals workers were exposed to in its factories, the exposure levels, or how it managed the chemicals. And the only reason it gave was protecting its bottom line: “our company’s competitiveness would be lowered,” it told the government, which then helped them keep it secret.

    Samsung literally put profit ahead of workers’ lives. Join the campaign seeking compensation for the sick workers and their families and for improved safety measures so this never happens again.

SIGN PETITION HERE