2008 Asia-Pacific Workshops
Climate Change in Asia Pacific
(with Eco-Justice Track)
With the loss of coastal land and the increase in frequency and severity of cyclones, regions of Asia and the Pacific are in constant battle with the effects of climate change. The results are life-threatening: shortages of drinkable water, loss of sugarcane, yams, taro and cassava, increases in diseases, and a migration of young people out of the region. A distinguished panel of speakers will explore these and other consequences of climate change in the region and provide a comprehensive look into the cost of humanity’s tampering with God’s creation and how environmental justice may be realized.
- Mr. Makoni Pulu, Youth Coordinator of Pacific Conference of Churches;
- Ms. Meena Raman, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth International
Sri Lanka Human Rights Crisis
For twenty-four years, the people of Sri Lanka have been searching for peace, human rights and security, but the most recent collapse of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers shows the road to peace will not be easy. Abductions, assassinations, bombings, and disappearances headline the news, and there is no telling when the bloodshed will end. This track session will examine the conflict in Sri Lanka and explore the possibilities of a just and durable peace in this torn nation.
- Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, President of Methodist Church of Sri Lanka
Response to the Human Rights Crisis in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, peace is elusive as conflict is intractable. The situation appears to be out of our hands; however, we can be part of the solution without physically being in the middle of the crisis. Thousands of miles away, how can we help our brothers and sisters struggling in the midst of an atrocious civil war? An ecumenical panel of speakers will share their thoughts and ideas in how its resources, especially its public policy advocacy on Capitol Hill, will help realize the deep aspirations of the Sri Lankan people for peace with justice.
- Rev. Ebenezer Joseph, President of Methodist Church of Sri Lanka;
- Fr. Seamus P. Finn, Director, Justice, Peace/Integrity of Creation Office, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate;
- Ms. Miriam Young, US NGO Forum on Sri Lanka
Update on the Human Rights Situation in the Philippines
This session will present an update and assessment of the human rights crisis in the Philippines, in light of developments in the larger Philippine and global context. Last year’s Asia Pacific Track of EAD focused on the human rights crisis in the Philippines inspiring advocacy responses of churches and groups throughout Europe and Asia, as well as a U.S. Senate Hearing and House briefing on extra judicial killings in the country. The update will feature the testimony of the mother of a missing son, Jonas Burgos, and the recent major cases of violations. A common voice will be generated amongst the EAD participants on 2008 advocacy focus and strategies, and on a mechanism for coordination and complementation in U.S.-based advocacies that individuals, churches, and groups may initiate or support. This event precedes an impending Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council focused on Philippine human rights issues.
- Ms. Edita Tronqued Burgos, activist and mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos;
- Mr. Mervin Toquero, Staff of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
Debriefing and ASK Preparation
After two days of plenary sessions and workshops focusing on the effects of climate change in the Pacific and the human rights crisis in Sri Lanka, questions remain: Now what? How can we help? In preparation for Monday’s Lobby Day, this session will help answer these questions and more. Through brainstorming and discussion, we will work together to learn how to effectively lobby on Capitol Hill, specific to the Asia Pacific Track’s two focuses.
- Ms. Tyler Edgar, Associate Director, Climate and Energy Campaign, National Council of Churches of Christ, USA;
- Fr. Seamus P. Finn, Director, Justice, Peace/Integrity of Creation Office, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate