2010 Asia-Pacific Workshops

Ethnic conflicts and political oppression, ecological degradation, poverty and economic exploitation— all factors contribute to displacement and migration throughout Asia—from Afghanistan to Burma to Japan. These workshops help us understand the forces that have uprooted more people today than in any other age. What social consequences do these migrations within and across borders create? How can international humanitarian and development groups cooperate to ameliorate conditions that threaten human security and livelihood? How can official and community efforts in the US create positive change in the region and for refugees and migrants seeking hope in the US?

 

Japan’s Peace Constitution and U.S. Policy in the Pacific
(Co-sponsored with US Domestic Track)

This workshop will look at the intersection between Japan’s constitutional commitment to peace, founded on Article 9, and the phenomenon of increasing U.S. militarization of Japan as manifest in the ongoing conflict in Okinawa, and the pressing situation of the U.S. bases Futenma and Henoko. An international coalition of religious, peace and human rights groups have been lobbying to protect Article 9, and the “Second Inter-Religious Conference on Article 9 and Peace in Asia” presents a platform and commitments for concerted action not only to protect the promises of Article 9 but also to promote peaceful democracy in the world, even with respect to such close alliances as Japan. The workshop will address the details of why, for strategic reasons, the U.S. has adopted a belligerent stance toward Japan, especially Okinawa, and provide suggestions for how Japan might be able to advance its commitments, from an interfaith perspective, made through Article 9.

Speakers:

  • Dave Robinson, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA
  • Sayo Saruta, Japanese attorney, Network for Okinawa

Moderator: Derek Duncan, Associate for Global Advocacy and Education, Global Ministries (United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ)
The Afghanistan-Pakistan Border: The Conflict, its Consequences and Options for US Policy in the Region
(Co-sponsored with Middle East Track)

For better or worse the Obama Administration has linked together its policy strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. But can the US play a more productive role in the region by focusing less on troop-based security and more on development and diplomacy? This workshop will address the political, historical and economic roots of the conflict that spans the border between these important states, as well as explore concerns particular to each country and solutions independent of NATO and US involvement. Special attention will be given to the causes of internal displacement and the refugee situation in this region.

Speakers:

  • Marvin Parvez, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Church World Service (CWS)
  • Theo Sitther, Legislative Associate, Mennonite Central Committee, Washington Office
  • David Wildman, Executive Secretary, Human Rights & Racial Justice, General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist Church

 

Forcibly Displaced from Burma: Refugees, IDPs and U.S. Policy

An estimated 500,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Burma and more than a million refugees, particularly ethnic minority groups such as the Karen and Chin, have been forcibly uprooted from their homes due to violence, political oppression, and systematic attacks by the military regime and other armed groups. Panelists at this session will discuss the Burmese experience from personal and political perspectives, with particular emphasis on the role of the U.S. resettlement program and U.S. foreign and humanitarian policy in responding to this crisis.

Speakers:

  • Poe Clee, Refugee from Burma/Myanmar
  • Rev. Rothang Chhangte, Liaison for Burma Refugees, American Baptist Churches USA
  • Jennifer Quigley, Associate Director for Advocacy, U.S. Campaign for Burma

 

Philippines Elections & the Prospects for Human Rights: An Open Conversation

Come hear about and share your advocacy efforts to end the abductions and abuses of human rights in the Philippines. What is the history of Extra-Judicial Killings and state human rights violations against church, labor and civil society leaders? What has been achieved by international and ecumenical campaigns to shed light on the situation and end US military support for the Philippines? What do partners in the Philippines hope for coming out of national elections in May, and how might US supporters help by serving as election monitors?
 

Moderator: Derek Duncan, Associate for Global Advocacy and Education, Global Ministries (UCC and Disciples of Christ), Co-chair, Philippines Working Group of the Asia-Pacific Forum

Sponsors: