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Swords into plowshares

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Swords into Plowshares is the blog of the Peacemaking Program and the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Seeking peace. Striving for justice. Together.

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April 21, 2014

Support the people of South Sudan

From our colleagues in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness

Support the people of South Sudan

Please contact your members of congress and urge them to support increased diplomatic initiatives and funding for humanitarian aid for South Sudan.  And, urge the Secretary of State and President to use all possible means to continue to press for humanitarian access.

The people of South Sudan are in desperate need of help.   On April 12, the United States along with the European Union and the United Nations out lined the problems and called for immediate action in a statement below:

Despite a Cessation of Hostilities agreement, fighting has continued, causing tremendous suffering and large-scale displacement inside and outside the country. This is a man-made disaster. All parties need to urgently work together to create the conditions for peace and stability to return to South Sudan.

There are five million people in need, 800,000 people who are internally displaced, and 280,000 who have fled to neighboring countries. We thank those countries for hosting refugees from South Sudan.

 Humanitarian agencies have reached more than one million people with life-saving aid. But this is just a fifth of the people in need. There must be immediate and unconditional access for the UN and humanitarian organizations to reach people in need across all areas of South Sudan.

More must be done.

The next three months are critical. Protecting people from violence is essential. Prevention of communicable diseases is key, especially among displaced people as the rainy season approaches.  There are already extremely high rates of malnutrition amongst displaced people and the communities helping to host them. People need to be able to plant crops before the rains and have access to other sources of humanitarian assistance in order to avert a catastrophic decline in food security which could affect up to seven million people.

The United States and the International Community must protect civilian communities and deliver food, seeds, tools, shelter, health and nutrition, and water and sanitation.

Supplies must be delivered to the parts of the country where people need them most. We must do this despite the fighting, the insecurity, the rainy season, and the bureaucratic obstacles.

There must be an adequate level of response to the most acute needs of refugees in the neighboring countries, and the very specific need in terms of protection for thousands of children, women, and unaccompanied minors who are the majority of the displaced. It is also very important to remember the host communities that can be put under tremendous pressure in already very fragile contexts.

The international community must stand by the people of South Sudan in its hour of greatest need. Unless action is taken now up to a million people could face famine in a matter of months.

Please contact your members of congress and urge them to support increased diplomatic initiatives and funding for humanitarian aid for South Sudan.  And, urge the Secretary of State and President to use all possible means to continue to press for humanitarian access.

May God guide the people of South Sudan in the paths of justice and peace. May God inspire the people of the world to help.

Categories: Advocacy, Justice, Peace, South Sudan, United Nations

Tags: congress, president, secretary of state, south sudan, united nations

April 17, 2014

Easter Greetings from the Holy Land

A number of our partners in the Holy Land send Easter greetings.

From Bishop Dr. Munib Younan of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land:

I beg you to pray for Arab and Middle East Christians in this region that they may be filled with the power of hope in the Resurrection. I ask you to not forget us nor cease accompanying us in our journey, for our mission is yours and yours is ours. Our mission continues to be one of a prophetic Church, implanting the power of Resurrection Peace in the hearts of all peoples ...

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April 11, 2014

Godspeed to Nancy Eng MacNeill

Today our colleague and friend Nancy Eng MacNeill, Associate for Constituency Support with the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, concludes her work among us so that she can focus on health concerns.   Anyone who knows Nancy knows that she brings a winsome and joyful exuberance, a creative and innovative spirit and a patient and detailed care to all that she does.   She will be sorely missed in this work by her friends and colleagues in the Presbyterian Mission Agency.  To honor and thank Nancy for her many years of gifted service, we've created an event page on Facebook, Godspeed to Nancy ...

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April 10, 2014

Join in prayer with Syrians

Our staff will join young adults and people of all ages in Syria and around the world in prayer for peace tomorrow.

From the Presbyterian News Service:

A group of young adults from churches across Syria are calling for the world to join them in kindling the candle of peace by praying together simultaneously on Friday, April 11, at 9:00 p.m. GMT (5:00 p.m. EDT).

The call comes from the Syrian Multimedia Youth Team:

The Syrian Multimedia Youth Team works for positive change within Syrian society by using modern media and technology to encourage local development ...

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April 3, 2014

Encourage US support of UN peacekeeping

From the Better World Campaign:

You’ve already heard the bad news: The U.S. is in the red on its peacekeeping dues — big time. Now here’s the good news: The Administration is committed to doing something about it.

Yesterday Ambassador Samantha Power took the case to Congress, testifying that next year’s budget must robustly support UN peacekeeping and pay back the dues we promised to pay.

Thank her for saying what Congress needed to hear, and tweet this message*:

Thank you @AmbassadorPower for standing up for robust funding of our @UN peacekeeping dues on Capitol Hill this ...

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