Observations of a Mennonite Peace Committee on the Island of Lesbos in September 2020

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Copyright © 2020 DMFK, All rights reserved.

Report live from Lesbos from the Mennonite Peace Committee study group (*)

A small group of the German Mennonite Peace Committee was present on the island of Lesbos from September 11-19, 2020. Until the last minute there was no certainty that this trip could take place. So we are happy that we were able to undertake this adventure, even though much of what we saw and experienced was deeply disturbing.

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Why compassion must be at the heart of our response to Channel crossings

Passerelles 300x115 - Why compassion must be at the heart of our response to Channel crossings

Over the last few months, hundreds of fragile and overloaded boats have made the perilous Channel crossing in search of a refuge. For many of the men, women and children on board, this is the last leg of a dangerous journey that has taken them months or even years… The government has described these arrivals as “invaders” as if they came to fight a war rather than to find refuge. The response chosen was a military one, READ MORE….

New Blog “Passerelles” by QCEA

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The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA) launches its new blog in French called Passerelles. Aimed at a French-speaking audience, Passerelles “will publish radical reflections on human rights in Europe from a diverse range of contributors”. Another way of working for peace, justice and equality in Europe.

Link to QCEA’s blog: Passerelles

Peace, Justice and Equality in the time of Covid-19

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The Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA), located in Brussels, organized a webinar on 12 June about the implications of measures taken during the COVID19 crisis on our civil liberties, and on the outlook – both positive and negative – of changes which may be expected in a post COVID19 era.  A dozen presenters spoke in this on-line event from both their personal experience and based on some 150 contributions that have been collected via the QCEA website (qcea.org ).

Read these contributions to the debate dealing with the risks from these laws and measures of exception and how they may trample on our civil liberties.  Or how the militaristic rhetoric used (such as “Nous sommes en guerre”) or that which is xenophobic in nature, targets people who are already vulnerable and marginalised.  Other testimonies underscore the waves of solidarity shown in European countries.  As well as ways forward to be explored as we pull out of the crisis to become greener and act in greater solidarity, such as the campaign:  Build Back Better. 

The QCEA is also working for greater financial solidarity amongst European States and will continue to play its role of Quaker lobby in pushing for a reorientation of the EU budget, currently under discussion.

QCEA’s latest newsletter

25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide: Quaker reconciliation work

Sizeli Marcellin lost 95 members of his family in the Rwandan genocide that took place between April and July 1994. After the killings stopped, Sizeli became a peacebuilder. Today, he’s a member of “Turning the Tide” , a  campaign for nonviolence, supported by British Quakers . Listen to his extraordinary story and that of other Rwandans here: https://soundcloud.com/qpsw-east-africa/sizeli-marcellin
See also: Quaker Peace and Social Witness on Twitter.

A Nobel Prize for Africa, and for Women

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2011: Congolese women march from Paris to Brussels to protest against rape in the DR Congo. Photo Réveil FM International

Our Friend Freddy Mulongo has long been fighting for freedom, peace and human rights for his country of origin, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Along with other members of the Congolese exile community in France, he has notably denounced the widespread sexual crimes committed against women in the war-torn country. On December 10th, that work bore fruit with the award of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to the Congolese surgeon Denis Mukwege, for his work treating women victims of rape and other forms of torture. Freddy Mulongo was at the award ceremony, as both a journalist and a peace activist.

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