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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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July 24, 2015

Women cross for peace

by Amelie Clemot

Thirty women from 15 different countries crossed the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea on May 24, 2015. Today, July 23rd, 5 of these women presented their expedition at the UNHQ. For a trip that barely exceeded a week, it took countless hours of negotiation and planning. In fact, they didn't receive the full green light until they were in Beijing waiting to fly into Pyongyang. To make their trip possible, they had to get the UN command to foster an agreement between North and South Korea and talk both governments into welcoming them into their countries. The trip was a true testament to diplomacy.

The women had many goals for their crossing. First, they hoped to get international media attention which is very important for a region whose civil war was dubbed the "forgotten war." In fact, though it has been 63 years since the end of the war, a peace accord has yet to be signed and indeed, a psychological war still reigns in the region. Thus, the women hoped that media attention might help encourage governments as well as private citizens to engage with the countries and to visit North Korea. They also organized their crossing in accordance with UN resolution 1325 which encourages women to, among other things, participate in peace processes. These international women were the ones willing to be ambassadors for peace and wished to help support the desires of North and South Korean women's efforts to build peace. The group reported back that the "desire for unification is still so palpable" in both countries especially, in communities where families were separated by the arbitrarily assigned 38th parallel demarcation line.

They hope to be able to meet with the Security General and urge him to help foster peace between the countries. Despite his lack of direct action in the region during his tenure, he did, however, give a warm endorsement for the group which went a long way toward making the trip possible. Overall, the women were filled with hope for the future and are still actively engaged in empowering women to foster social change and in doing all in their power to end the Korean war.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a long history of partnership with our sisters and brothers in South Korea and North Korea. We join in prayer for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.


Categories: North Korea, Peace, South Korea, United Nations, Women

Tags: amelie clemot, demilitarized zone, intern, interns, korean, peninsula

July 15, 2015

End violence against women and girls

In response to an invitation to tell the world why they believe in a future free from violence against women and girls for Orange Day, July 25, to make a short video focusing on their vision for a world without violence against women and girls. Our interns made a video. You can too! Make and post a video. Share the link on Twitter on July 25.


The United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each month as : a day to raise awareness and take action against violence against women and girls. 

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July 14, 2015

Presbytery of Eastern Virginia says "No child soldiers"

photo by Willa Van Camp

A youth group from the Presbytery of Eastern Virginia participated in a seminar on July 7 and 8, 2015.

The group explored why followers of Jesus and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) engage in the public arena and have a presence at the United Nations.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, the forced displacement of children, the work of UNICEF, human trafficking, and child soldiers were among the topics the group considered.

Group members made Red Hands to join the campaign to end the use of children as soldiers.


The Red Hands ...

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July 10, 2015

The year of soil

by Sarah Holye

The UN has a habit of making everything the “day of” something or the “week of” something. Sometimes these things are vitally important…other times they may leave you scratching your head. But did you know that 2015 is the YEAR of something? It’s something so fascinating, so life-giving, so truly crucial to our ecosystem that we often take it entirely for granted.


2015 has been designated the International Year of Soils.

Soil holds a special place in my heart. My name is Sarah Hoyle. Take the S, add it to Hoyle and you’ve ...

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June 30, 2015

Human rights are for everyone

by Amelie Clemot

Human rights are for everyone, no matter who you are or whom you love.

- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, this year's recipient of the Harvey Milk Medal

On Friday, June 26, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the United States Supreme Court ruling that the US Constitution guarantees the right to same-sex marriage. He called this decision a “great step forward for human rights.”

In the past, the UN has conducted several studies that show that denying couples legal recognition of their relationship leads to widespread discrimination. LGBTI young people are often exposed to stigma, discrimination and violence ...

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