June 2011

Doctrine Divides, Action Unites



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 Critical Questions about Communal Violence in Burma
Asian Human Rights Commission
Arakan, or Rakhine, State in western Burma witnessed in June the latest episode of violence between members of two ethnic communities in this state on the border with Bangladesh. As well as expressing its concern in this statement issued on June 14, this regional human rights organization raises questions about the causes of the violence between the Rakhines, who practice Buddhism, and the Rohingyas, who are Muslims, and notes the contribution of the domestic and expatriate media to this conflict. [Read more]

 Business as Usual for Burma
Burma Partnership
With the world seemingly aglow in the wake of the success of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in April’s by-elections and the recent exuberant visits of Aung San Suu Kyi to Thailand and Europe in May and June, foreign corporations seem to be falling over themselves to be the first to invest in the country, especially in extracting Burma’s natural resources. The advice of Burma Partnership to them, however, is simple: Beware, and do not add to Burma’s decades of human rights problems! [Read more]

 A 73-Year-Old Member of Tiananmen Mothers Commits Suicide
Tiananmen Mothers
The Tiananmen Mothers report that one of their members, Ya Weilin (轧伟林), has committed suicide. Ya Weilin was 73 years old and was the father of a young man killed during the 1989 crackdown. The group’s obituary states that Ya was in despair after enduring more than 20 years of grief without any redress and had decided to protest with his own death. At the request of the Tiananmen Mothers, Human Rights in China (HRIC) issued this English translation of the Tiananmen Mothers’ obituary about Ya Weilin’s death. [Read more]

  SOP Posters Posted Online
Bruce Van Voorhis
Using art for education and advocacy was one of the skills shared with the 20 participants who took part in the 14-week School of Peace (SOP) that Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF) held in Bangalore, India, between February and May this year. Creating posters to explain the issues of their communities and countries was part of this learning experience. Now these posters and the issues they depict are online. [Read more]

 Staying Put in Solidarity
Antony Kalliath
The Festival Justpeace has been held near the conclusion of Interfaith Cooperation Forum’s (ICF) School of Peace (SOP) on the campus of Visthar in Bangalore, India, almost every year since its inception in 2006. One of the highlights of the 2012 festival, known as the Bhoomi Habba (Celebration of the Earth) this year, on May 5 was the doll exhibition of Francoise Bosteels, a Catholic nun from Belgium. Her dolls are representations of life and issues she has witnessed in India since she arrived in the country in 1974. This poem, which is from Bosteels’s book Human Icons, Sacred Stories that features her dolls and the poetry they inspire, links faith and solidarity and is based on Luke 24:13–29 and what transpired on the Road to Emmaus. [Read more]

  Islam Means Peace
Jahan Ara Begum
The author, a Muslim woman from the Indian city of Hyderabad, explains how and why peace is a core value of her faith. Her thoughts are included in the first book jointly produced by the Center for JustPeace in Asia (CJPA) and Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF)—Our Stories, Our Challenges: The Search for JustPeace in Asia Today. [Read more]

 Rio for People Declaration
Prior to Rio+20, the second U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), held between June 20 and 22 in Brazil, members of the Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) met in Hanoi for their biennial conference “Rio for People: Strengthening People’s Capacity for Genuine Sustainable Development” from June 5 to 7. At the conclusion of the APRN conference, which was co-organized with Ibon International as part of the international campaign Rights for Sustainability, or R4S, those gathered in Vietnam offered their analyses and prescriptions for the global ills afflicting the world’s people and the environment meant to sustain them. [Read more]

 Human Rights after Rio+20: Failure Is Not an Option
Luke Holland
While the previous article contained the recommendations of civil society in Asia for sustainable development and the environment prior to the Rio+20 conference in Brazil, this summary a week after the U.N. conference shares the author’s thoughts about what and what was not achieved during the three days of meetings. [Read more]