Jubilee Economics

Jubilee-economics.jpg“Woe to you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!”

Isaiah 5:8

 

 

 

 

The Jubilee Debt campaign has produced a excellent booklet entitled ‘Jubilee Economics – Biblical teaching and financial crisis’ The booklet is free and contains six bible studies on faith and economics.

These include:

  • 1) ‘Good news for the poor’: Why debts should sometimes not be paid

  • 2) ‘Debt jubilees’: What causes positive changes to happen

  • 3) ‘Hoarding wealth’: How inequality causes financial crises

  • 4) ‘Tax injustice’: How rich people are made poor

  • 5) ‘Breaking the mould’: Gender inequality

  • 6) ‘Forgive us our debts’ Who really owes who?

The booklet is a practical resource that challenges and allows us to reflect on how we view money and the economy in light of Jesus teaching.  It is well worth getting a copy.

For further information go to http://jubileedebt.org.uk/reports-briefings/briefing/jubilee-economics-biblical-teaching-financial-crisis

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Our trip to Manchester

If you came to visit us last month in Manchester, we hope you had a great time. We had some fascinating events and got some great feedback from the people who came along. For those who couldn't make it, here's a brief report to give you a flavour. Hopefully, you'll be able to join us in Brighton in 2015!!

Sunday

 

DSCF1603-copy.jpgThe Labour Party began its annual conference in Manchester with a church service. Delegates joined local worshippers at St Ann's Church, where they heard Ruth Valerio, of Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK, call for people to aim to live consistently with their faith. Highlighting Labour's work to combat climate change while in government, she suggested the Party had gone quiet on the issue and that "Labour needs to be noisier on climate change."  http://www.christiansontheleft.org.uk/labour_party_service_where_policy_and_lifestyle_meet

 

During the service, prayers were said for the people of Scotland following the referendum, and Tearfund representatives led prayers for the wider world.

Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke to worshippers after the service, praising the work of Christians on the Left in encouraging more DSCF1698-copy.jpgpeople to become involved in politics. He identified Christians on the Left as "the ethical beating heart of our movement".

Andy Flannagan, Director of Christians on the Left, said:

"Starting conference with a church service is a good way to reflect and check our priorities ahead of a hectic few days. We heard a strong call to put our faith into practice in all parts of our lives, and to speak out too. Climate change is an issue we have a duty to address now, for future generations. Throughout the conference week, Christians on the Left are sharing how faith and politics go together."

During the conference Christians on the left echoed calls made by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders, for greater support for Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. We also proposed a Contemporary Resolution on the issue, which can be found alongside an article by Political communications Officer Stephen Beer http://www.christiansontheleft.org.uk/we_need_to_take_a_stand

On Sunday evening Christians on the Left held a candlelit vigil for Christians and other minorities persecuted in Iraq and Syria, hearing stories from representatives from OpenDoors Uk. Prayers were also said for the wider Middle East, including Israel/Palestine. 

 

Monday

 

DSCF1799-copy.jpgJohn Denham MP joined us for a lunchtime event entitled ‘Why labour needs faith’ with FaithAction and Sikhs for Labour, where there was an encouraging collective voice from the representatives of all the major faiths.  Daniel Singleton from faith in action made the case that faith is too significant to ignore.’ With John Denham suggesting that with the size of constituency that faith represents, it would be foolish of any government to ignore the contribution faith groups make.

 

At 4:30pm the official party Faith Reception was held. It was so popular that people struggled to get into the event.  This was followed by our evening meeting with Prison Fellowship on Restorative Justice. We heard Inspiring transformative stories from those helped by the restorative justice work of Prison Fellowship - all heard and affirmed strongly by Shadow Prisons Minister Jenny Chapman MP. DSCF1843-copy.jpg

 

 

Tuesday

 

Tuesday began with the annual Christians on the Left conference prayer breakfast. This year we held it with International Justice Mission which works to secure justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression.  We were also pleased to be joined by Free Church leaders who were visiting the conference.

 

DSCF1931-copy.jpgIt was great to hear of justice and freedom being worked out, not only as a concept but also in reality.

 

Christians on the Left volunteers also took part in a 5 Live radio debate on Tuesday morning.

 

 

 

 

The big event at Conference on Tuesday of course was Ed Miliband's speech. In a wide ranging speech, he focused on working together to build a better future for the country. He made six key pledges on how Labour would make this happen if elected in May 2015. http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/2014-labour-conference-speech

 

On Tuesday evening we brought together Labour Party members and others to discuss what a manifesto for the common good should look like in 2020. Rushanara Ali talked us through the challenges facing communities. Naill Cooper of Church Action on Poverty helped organise us, as we discussed inequality and climate change. Our fringe meeting was a great example of how we work - bringing faith & politics together & being a bridge between church and politics

 

Iraq and Syria

 

Stephen Beer and fellow Christians on the left delegate Helen Dennis worked at Conference to highlight the plight of persecuted minorities in Iraq and Syria. Although the resolution on the issue was not debated, Stephen was able to question our shadow foreign, defence, and international development secretaries at a delegates briefing and call for more action on humanitarian aid and provision for asylum. Christians on the Left will continue to campaign on this issue.

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LABOUR PARTY SERVICE: WHERE POLICY AND LIFESTYLE MEET

ruth2.jpgOn Sunday 21st September, delegates for the labour party conference joined local worshippers at St Ann's Church, where they heard Ruth Valerio, of Christian environmental charity A Rocha UK, call for people to aim to live consistently with their faith.

Below is the text from her excellent talk.

"LABOUR PARTY SERVICE: WHERE POLICY AND LIFESTYLE MEET"

 Intro

Good morning everyone and congratulations on making it so early, it’s lovely to be here.

 I want to talk this morning about the story of Joseph

I’ve got two daughters – 14 and 11- and they’re discovering nostalgia, a trip down memory-lane. They’re enjoying remembering things they used to like, getting stuff out and enjoying them again (I went into our TV room the other day to discover Jemba watching Tellytubbies with great excitement!).

 One of the areas they’re having great fun over is music: listening to things they used to love listening to when they were little  - things I thought I’d never have to listen to these things again…!).

So, my journey to Greenbelt this year was spent listening to the Mr Men and Little Misses (and even a bit of S Club 7 – how on earth did that get into the car?!).

On the journey back we had to listen to ‘Joseph and His Technicoloured Dreamcoat’ (believe me I know all the words), and it got me thinking as I listened (again…!) to the story unfolding.

 As the Labour Party Conf begins this morning, there are three things that I see coming out for us from this story.

 Firstly, I see in Joseph a person who was called to save lives

(‘What you meant for harm, God meant for good, for the saving of many lives’ Gen. 50:20)

 Joseph was called to save lives: not just that of his own and his family, or even of the nation that he lived in, but the lives of all the nations effected by the famine.

One of the things that Labour has been so good at is reaching beyond individual self-interest to demonstrating a real concern for global issues of poverty and injustice:

Creating DFID, putting us as a country on track to spending .7% of GNI on aid, Blair’s ‘Commission for Africa’ before the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, Gordon Brown’s continuing emphasis on global education, and so on, were all fruit of Labour putting the needs of developing countries at the heart of its agenda.

This morning I want to remind you of that and encourage you not to forget your calling to be putting the needs of the poorest in our world central to what you do.

I know there are a whole host of important issues pressing for attention over the next few day: lots of things on the agenda, the press is full of things this morning; you’ve got a manifesto to work on, leadership questions to wrestle with, the NHS to consider etc. But in the midst of all these things, remember that you are here to serve the needs of the poorest of the poor, around the world and also here in the UK.

It’s a key part of what the Gospel of Jesus is all about.

Secondly, I see the wisdom of Pharoah: because he took notice of his dreams and heeded the warning that they contained.

Did you look at your Twitter feed this morning? Mine was full of the Climate March.

In just a few hours, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be marching, calling on their political leaders to take meaningful action on climate change in the upcoming talks. I’d be there myself with my children if I wasn’t here. Greg is going to the march in Chichester  (although sadly I can guarantee there won’t be many at that one!!!).

My favourite line in ‘Joseph’ is when Joseph says to Pharoah: ‘that dream you saw in your pyjamas is a long-range forecast for your farmers’.

Isn’t that brilliant?! What a fantastic line!

It strikes me as ironic that all it needed for Pharoah to take action against climate disaster were some kooky dreams. We have the best scientific analysis and consensus this world has ever seen and still we do not act. I’d like to pray for some dreams for our global leaders tonight that might wake them up and shake them up and cause them to take action!

As Labour you were responsible for bringing in the first Climate Change Act in 2008, establishing the world’s first legally binding carbon targets; you established DECC, Brown commissioned the first Stern Review and put serious effort into Copenhagen in 2009, during which time of course, the very lovely Ed Miliband was Sec of State.

It’s time now for Labour to get noisy again about climate change, to heed the long-range (and short-range) forecast for our farmers that we are constantly being given by climate scientists.

With the General Election looming, the UN Development Summit next September, and next December’s COP meeting, I want to call on Labour at this conference to set out a strong stall on what climate action looks like, to make it central to the manifesto, and to remember that we need to bring ecology, economy and human flourishing together in order to deliver for society.

To me, if we are going to do this, climate action has to move beyond carbon emissions targets. Let’s face it, despite all our targets our emissions have been rising not going down. We can set all the targets we want but they’ll do nothing unless we:

-          challenge continued fossil fuel extraction

-          challenge continued consumption.

This is unpopular I know, but it gets to the heart of the issues around climate change.

Again, a full understanding of the Gospel of Jesus  (which sees redemption and salvation as encompassing the whole creation and not only human beings) can ask for nothing less.

3. But, finally, there’s one problem with talking about Joseph: it’s a lovely story isn’t it, that makes a great story in Sunday School, but it ends on a sour note because he got caught up in the very system that should have been there to help others. (look at Gen 47:13-21 and see how Joseph ended up effectively putting the whole nation into slavery and dispossessing them of their land.)

He got caught up in the power and the fame and the privilege and the prestige. And the story of Joseph contains this sour note as he ends up using the good that he is doing actually to build a better life to his own advantage.

In essence, he forgot what he was called to do.

If we want politics to look different, we have to live different and not just talk. There is a challenge here (for all of us, but particularly those of you here who are MPs and Parliamentary Candidates) not to allow yourselves to become disengaged from your communities but to bring your whole lives in line with what you want your policies to be; living with integrity on the ground what you are saying in public.

That might mean making some tough lifestyle choices. It might mean choosing to stay in the house that you’re living in rather than moving upwardly to a nicer one (or maybe for some of you who have made that move already you might need to move back down again…). It might mean changing the sorts of people who you have round for dinner. It might mean taking time regularly simply just to walk around parts of your constituency, noting what’s going on around you – detail that can be missed if you’re hurrying from meeting to meeting in a car. You’ll know what it means for you in your situation.

Conclusion

So, let’s be like Joseph: called to save lives

Let’s be like Pharoah: taking notice of the climate predictions and acting wisely.

And let’s make sure that we live with integrity and bring policy and lifestyle together.

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We need to take a stand

Who-is-Isis-017.jpgHorrific stories are continuing to emerge from Iraq and Syria. It is time to take a bigger and bolder stand, through actions as well as words. That’s what Christians on the Left calls for in our resolution to Labour Conference.

 

We are hoping and praying that the latest British hostage threatened by ISIL will be released, along with others held captive. The executions of western hostages are very public examples of the atrocities this group is committing on a large scale. Across large parts of Syria and Iraq, innocent people are being murdered, kidnapped, and persecuted. The terror is focused on minorities, particularly Christians. Our friends in the NGO community report that over a million people have been displaced, with hundreds of thousands in hastily erected tents in Northern Iraq (see reports from Tearfund and Christian Aid for example). Christians have been executed, reportedly including by crucifixion. Others have been forced to renounce their faith at gunpoint. Women have been ‘divorced’ from their husbands and sold as sex slaves.  Children have been kidnapped to be raised as adherents to ISIL’s extremist ideology.

 

As Archbishop of Canterbury Revd Justin Welby said last month:

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s rights to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Displaced-Yazidi-people-013.jpgUniversal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history. The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.”

 

He later described the atrocities as “off the scale of human horror.” It is particularly sobering to recall that fellow British citizens are some of the perpetrators.

 

Christians have been targeted, as have been people in other minorities including Muslims and Yazidis.

 

Some countries are taking action, by providing humanitarian aid for example, but at the moment it is unlikely to be enough. More aid is desperately needed – and we must ensure it gets to where it is needed. The UK is one of those nations providing assistance but it is hampered by at least three factors. The government does not have a clear foreign and defence policy (as seen in recent article-2665670-1F09949300000578-823_964x845.jpgconfusion between the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary regarding airstrikes). The government is also wary of acting without the support of other countries in the region. Finally, it is probably unsure of how much support there is in the UK for taking more action.

 

The Labour Party should provide some clarity on the latter point. We need to make a clear statement of support for those people in Iraq and Syria who are suffering now. And we need to press for action to back up those words.  After all, “faith without deeds is useless” (James 2:20). We should start with Archbishop Welby’s call for action. That means more sustained humanitarian aid and the offer of asylum to those most in danger. There also needs to be more resources to enable the international community to document human rights abuses and bring people to justice. Finally, if we can prevent more massacres, and if we can be confident we will not make things worse, we should do so. If we can protect, we should. Or at least, let us have that debate – and quickly – so we know when we should intervene. The terrible errors over the invasion of Iraq should not make us forget bitter lessons from inaction in Rwanda and Srebenica. Whatever our opinion on that particular issue, on the persecution of minorities in Iraq and Syria, we need to take a stand.

 

 

Stephen Beer

Stephen Beer is our Political Communications officer and a Christians on the Left delegate to this year’s Labour Party Conference. He blogs at www.stephenbeer.com .

 

 

Christians on the Left has a Contemporary Resolution approved for ballot at Labour Conference this Sunday.  Please support it and urge your Labour friends to do so too.

 

The resolution reads as follows:

 

 

Labour Party Conference 2014

Contemporary Resolution 

 

Conference notes the rapid advances made over the summer by ISIL, also known as Islamic State or ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. This organisation is motivated by an extremist ideology that is contrary to mainstream religious faith. ISIL has systematically targeted minority Christian, Muslim, Yazidi and other communities. It has brutally slaughtered many, often via beheadings or crucifixions. It has kidnapped and abused women, and driven people from their homes. Thousands are now homeless, having been forced from homes where their families have lived and practised their faith for thousands of years. This continues a trend seen throughout the Middle East in recent years.

 

Conference condemns unreservedly the actions of ISIL and in particular the atrocities it is committing. Conference calls on the UK government and the international community to substantially increase the humanitarian aid effort to the region, via both airdrops and conventional means, and ensure targeted aid is sustained.  We call on the government to play its part to protect minorities under attack or facing oppression, and to work alongside organisations in the area promoting religious tolerance. Conference calls on the government to allocate asylum places to some of the most in need, in line with our European partners. We stand together with oppressed and powerless minorities that have been targeted, and with all those working for peace, unity, and tolerance in the Middle East.

 

 

 

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Uncover the hidden plague the world has missed

Sometimes when we see the reality of the suffering in the world around us, we want to close our eyes and forget what we’ve seen. Because if we were to acknowledge the plague of violence that has swept across our world, we would feel compelled to act.

That was the experience of Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission. Upon serving in Rwanda as the United Nations’ Director of Investigations following the genocide, he was so impacted by all that he saw, that he had to act. His response was to found IJM, a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world.

Why violence? Because the threat of violence is part of everyday life for the poor; it’s as much a part of poverty as hunger, disease or homelessness. Because it is devastating our global efforts to end poverty; the poorest are so poor because their justice systems don’t protect them from violent people. 

This reality has been proven true for millions of children, women and men.

THIS IS THEIR EVERYDAY

Mariamma* had been working in a brick factory for years. She couldn’t leave the factory and was beaten by the man who owns her. Everything about this is completely illegal, but the man who hadenslaved her made no effort to hide what hewas doing — because exploiting an impoverished woman like Mariamma is ordinary.

In Mariamma’s own words:

“The cruelty — we have to take it, because we don’t have money or power. The police will believe [our owner] and not us because we are slaves…”

Laura* was only 10 years old, but already knew that every day held reasons to fear violence. In the slum where she lived, most daily tasks weren’t safe:
Her community wasn’t safe: she was on her way to the community toilet when she wassexually assaulted by a neighbour.
The walk to school wasn’t safe: She was on her way to class when she was assaulted again — by a different neighbour.
And even her home wasn’t safe: she was trapped in a nightmare of relentless abuse from her own father.

Susan* is a Ugandan grandmother who wasviolently thrown from her home by a man determined to take her small patch of land.It’s a common nightmare for many women in her community. When Susan left her home for a night to attend a wedding in another village, her neighbour literally toredown her home, so he could take the little patch of land it sat on.

An elderly woman already bearing the heavy burdens of trying to scratch out survival for herself and her grandkids, what could Susan do? There was no one standing up for women like her.Thrown from her home, she had no shelter, no place to grow food and no garden for income.

Nonita* was lured from her hometown by traffickers promising a high-paying job, but she soon learned it was a lie. Nonita realised she would be forced to line up in a room to be sold to men for sex, she said she was “shocked and terrified.”

“I have the right to stand up for myself. I have the right to be loved.” – Survivor ‘Bill of Rights’ written by Nonita and other survivors

All of the above are actual IJM client stories.  But for each of them, their story differed from those of millions of others in one crucial way: they have all been brought out of the darkness of everyday violence into the light of freedom andgiven hope for the future. They have all been able to make their voice heard so that justice can be proven possible. 

IJM protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities to: rescue victims; bring criminals to justice; restore survivors to safety and strength; and strengthenjustice systems, helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.

YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THEIR EVERYDAY

We believe the work of justice begins with prayer. As we seek justice on behalf of others, we rely on a God of strength to help us do what is only possible with and through Him.

Join us at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester on Tuesday 23rd September for the Labour Party Conference Prayer Breakfast, led by IJM. Learn more about everyday violence, pray for an end to this hidden plague and be inspired to take up the call for justice. 

*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.

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Faith: too significant to ignore

In the FaithAction offices earlier this year, when we began knocking around ideas for a phrase to serve as a discussion starter, we had no idea of how potent it would become. What a difference a couple of months can make. When we first discussed ‘Too Significant to Ignore’, the Birmingham ‘Trojan Horse’ had not yet reared its head, the ‘Arab Spring’ could still be viewed as a positive thing, not many of us knew the Arabic symbol for N (Nazarene)and the Trussell Trust –they behind the nation’s Food Banks – seemed to be the only effective voice holding the Government reform agenda to account.

In spite of David Cameron’s declaration that Great Britain is a Christian countryfaith seemed to be far from the centre of the public discourse. This statement of personal opinion is very much in contrast with, for example, the Office of Faith-basedinitiatives in the White House, now an established part of bothRepublican and Democratic administrations.

Over the next few weeks, we will be talking more on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Faith and Society’s work around the Covenant, which local authorities and local faith organisations are signing in commitment to work together to serve their communities.

But things have moved on. Faith, for better or worse, is too significant to ignoreAnd yet, again and again, faith is notplanned for, but merely reacted to; which is surely absurd fornon-government institutions that still serve as a point of connection for over half the population of the UK. Most of those who own a faith may not see this as a disadvantage, but as a key part of what makes them who they are. And, yes,some are willing to die for it! That doesn’t seem like something that should just be passed over.

And what of those Food Bank volunteers? Often, they are people of faith coming face-to-face with poverty and needsthat many of us struggle to comprehend as being part of UK society. It is a concern, maybe, for Conservative CentralOffice to see the older white middle class woman on TV; wearing Trussell Trust aprons, discussing the needy folk they meet every day, and looking awkward when asked about the state of benefits system.

Faith is not all fanaticism or flakiness – it cannot be confined to one day a week, and it can cause people to act outside of what can be considered their own best interest for a greater good. Here are some examples of people I know: Faith causes a Christian couple in London to open their home to strangers needing a bed for the night after sleeping rough; the Gurdwarain Birmingham (like so many throughout the UK,) feedswhoever comes to the door; those who give their time to mentoring young people who have never had a consistentadult interest in their lives. Then there are those who are risking their well-being overseas; pastors who won’t abandon their flock even in the face of Ebola in West Africa; those who are organising aid to respond to the needs in Syria and Iraq despite risk to life and reputation.

Faith has far more significance and impact for good, whichthis country has not yet grasped.

The Blue Labour movement in the Labour Party, with its roots in Christian Socialism and connection of family, flag andfaith, gives a prominence of consideration to the role faith can play in party politics.

Over the next little while, we will be challenging the politicalparties regarding their response and plan for faith. Why not join us and ask your local politicians the same?

Tell them that faith is too significant to ignore!

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Your message to Iraqi and Syrian Christians

"Please pray for us who had to leave their homes by force in Iraq because of the situation. Please pray for protection, peace and provision to our families." (Iraqi viewer of SAT-7)

Christian Satellite 7 which broadcasts into Iraq and Syria wants people to show support to the Christians of Iraq and Syria by writing prayers or a message of love which may get read out, or shown on screen to viewers in the region.

 “The Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon said the killings and religious "cleansing" by "the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)...verge on being a bona fide genocide", which combined with the "catastrophic" three-year conflict in Syria, have created an "existential threat" to Christians and other minorities in the Middle East.” (SAT-7)

If you wish to give a message of support go to http://www.sat7uk.org/Campaigns/loveIraq

Christians on the left will also be holding a prayer event 10pm to 10:30pm for the Middle East this Sunday 21st Sep. Those of us who are at Labour Party Conference will be meeting in Lincoln Square for a Candlelit Vigil. (Brazenose St, M2 5LN) - very close to the conference venue.

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In the developing world, violence is an everyday threat

Most of us live without the constant fear of violence. Whilst it may not be a conscious realisation, we live our lives knowing that we are safe and protected and that we have good law enforcement which, on the majority of occasions, will successfully protect us from abuse.

But this is not true for everyone.

Throughout the developing world, fear of violence is part of everyday life for the poor. It’s as much a part of poverty as hunger, disease or homelessness and is devastating the developing world. It is only more difficult to see. Without effective justice systems to protect them from violence, the world’s poor live in a state of fear.

The poorest are so vulnerable because their justice systems – police, courts and laws – don’t protect them from violent people. While their wealthier neighbours can pay for security guards, high walls and safe homes, the poor cannot. The threat of violence is relentless and pervasive; the poor live with a constant threat of being raped, robbed, assaulted or exploited.

For the poor, the risk of violence is part of their every day.

Gender violence kills and disables more women and girls than cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined – World Health Organisation

With incomes for the global poor hovering around $1-$2 a day, the average person cannot hope to pay legal fees – ILO

Critically, this violence is not only destroying individual lives, but undermining the world’s efforts to end poverty.

In nearly 20 communities throughout the developing world, International Justice Mission (IJM) fights everyday violence against the poor. Specifically, we focus on addressing: sex trafficking; sexual violence; slavery; police abuse of power; property grabbing; and citizenship rights abuse.

We protect the poor from such violence by partnering with local authorities to:
Rescue victims
Bring criminals to justice
Restore survivors
Strengthen justice systems

 

Griselda

Raped by three men when she was 13, Griselda finally received justice after five years of IJM’s support and is now thriving as she speaks up on behalf of other survivors.

Michael

After languishing in prison for 18 months for a crime he hadn’t committed, and enduring another 18 months of uncertainty after he was released on bail pending an appeal of the wrongful conviction, Michael’s name was finally cleared and he was a free man once again. 

Charito

Charito* was rescued from sex trafficking when she was 14 years old. With the conviction of her trafficker secured, Charito said, "The justice I've been looking for, for almost 8 years ... now I have it." 

 

But we don’t stop at rescuing people who have been abused. Our ultimate goal is to prevent the violence from happening in the first place. All of our work is designed to drive maximum-impact, long-term transformation that will make the poor safe enough to thrive.

Cebu, the Philippines: After four years of IJM casework, independent researchers found a 79% decrease in the availability of children being sold for sex in Metro Cebu, the Philippines.
Cambodia: In the early 2000s, several research studies in Cambodia found that between 15-30% of those prostituted were minors. Today, IJM’s research and investigation shows that the prevalence of minors in sex establishments in Cambodia’s 3 largest cities is down to 8.16% - and the prevalence of minors under 15 is now below 1%.

Throughout the world, IJM is fuelling the global justice movement by drawing the world’s attention to everyday violence, influencing leaders to become champions for protecting the poor and rallying all people of good will to the fight.

Here in the UK, we are applying IJM’s unique global experience to strengthen the UK justice system and encourage the UK – including the government, the Church and a new generation – to lead the way in addressing everyday violence, both globally and locally.

You are encouraged to join us at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester on Tuesday 23rd September for the Labour Party Conference Prayer Breakfast, led by IJM. Learn more about everyday violence, pray for an end to this hidden plague and be inspired to take up the call for justice.

 


*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.

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International Development Bill

The International Development (Official Development Assistance target) Bill

STimms.jpgThe International Development Bill has passed and heads to committee stage, Stephen Timms MP comments that,

"The commitment to meet the UN target that international aid spending should be at least 0.7% of GDP was made by the last Government.  It has been delivered by the current Coalition.  There is no doubt in my mind that the achievement of a cross party consensus on this issue, and the success of this Bill at second reading today, is largely due to effective campaigning on the part of the Churches."

Further information can be found at http://www.turnupsavelives.org.uk/why-legislate

 
A transcript of this debate can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/hansard/commons/todays-commons-debates/read/unknown/12/
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Statement on the plight of Christians & other minorities in Iraq

Christians are suffering and dying in Iraq. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) is killing them, displacing them and seizing their properties. Now Iraq’s ancient Yazidi community is experiencing similar abuses.

 

This is a catastrophe for the people of Iraq and the region and if left unchecked it could also have profound implications for freedom and democracy across the globe. Religious freedom is a fundamental right that has been described as a ‘litmus test’ for the depth of democracy. That’s why attacks on this right cannot be ignored.

 

We believe that if Western governments allow groups like IS to persecute populations with impunity, it will set a dangerous precedent in global affairs. The situation in Iraq is particularly important because Western governments were complicit in creating the vacuum into which the terrorists have now stepped. It is unacceptable for Western governments that embarked on the process of bringing freedom and human rights to Iraq to continue neglecting this situation. It is vital that all of Iraq's religious and ethnic minorities are guaranteed a future in their country.

 

The UN Secretary General and Security Council have urged international assistance for the Iraqi government and people. Therefore, we call upon our own government to provide practical assistance for those displaced by the current violence who wish to remain in their country. We also echo the call of the Church of England for Iraqi Christian refugees and those from other minority communities who wish to escape persecution to be granted asylum in the United Kingdom in accordance with the international refugee convention.

 

Events in Iraq form part of a broader pattern of increasing persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. In many countries, including Syria, Iran, Nigeria, Mali, CAR, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Somalia and Afghanistan, well-armed Islamist extremists are not only persecuting Christians severely, but are also violating the rights of all who do not share their restrictive dogma. The international community must unite and take action to stem the seemingly inexorable advance of violent insurgencies that use religion to justify their severe violations of fundamental freedoms and their wanton disregard for human dignity. Western governments have a responsibility to play a leading role in this action. And taking a stand on Iraq needs to be the starting point.

 - RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION STATEMENT ON THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS AND OTHER MINORITIES IN IRAQ WHICH CHRISTIANS ON THE LEFT FULLY SUPPORTS.
The Religious Liberty Commission (RLC), formed in 2012, exists to bring organisations working on behalf of persecuted Christians together to speak with one voice. RLC members are: Release International, Open Doors (UK & Ireland), Christian Solidarity Worldwide and the Evangelical Alliance (UK).  
 
Each member organisation has its own distinctive mandate but we all feel the issue of Christian persecution is so important that we want to speak together regularly to raise awareness of key developments globally, in a significant and collaborative way.
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