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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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Posts with tag: amnesty international

October 15, 2015

A just and lasting peace for South Sudan

Ryan Smith and Peter Gai make plans for visits"The needs of the people must take priority over the interests of the powerful."

And what the people of South Sudan need is a just and lasting peace.

That's the message shared in the UN community by the Rt. Rev. Peter Gai, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in South Sudan and Sudan. 

The Rev. Gai came to New York on October 12 and 13 as part of a month long visit to call for prayer, action, and support for the efforts of the church in South Sudan to contribute to a just and lasting peace for the people.

Our ...

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February 3, 2015

To enhance the strength of human rights law

Renzo Pomi speaking to the groupOn January 23, the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations provided a seminar for the International Law Society from the University of Baltimore School of Law on the topic of human rights. 

Speaking at the seminar were:

Shulamith Koenig, Founding President, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (formerly known as People’s Decade for Human Rights Education)

Renzo Pomi, speaking in the photo,  Amnesty International’s Representative at the United Nations

John Washburn, Convener of the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC)

Janette Amer, Human Rights Adviser with UNWomen

Ryan Smith and Mark Koenig shared ...

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May 30, 2013

South Sudan: Church Leaders Detained

from Amnesty International

Two members of the Presbyterian Church in South Sudan, Reverend Idris Joshua Idris Nalos and Pastor Trainee David Gayin, were arrested from their homes by security forces on 19 May. They are being detained incommunicado, without access to a lawyer or their family, and are at risk of torture or other forms of ill-treatment.

On 19 May at 8pm security forces entered Reverend Idris Joshua Idris Nalos’ house in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and according to eyewitnesses, fired three gunshots in the air, before proceeding to beat the Reverend and take him in away in a ...

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November 19, 2012

Persecution of the Rohingya in Burma

by Alexander Haines

Map of Burma showing location of RohingyaThe Rohingya, a Muslim minority group in Buddhist Burma, have faced systematic discrimination by the government and by the communities in which they live. Many have been denied citizenship, and government officials typically refer to them using pejorative terms. The Rohingya are not respected as native Burmese, and instead are thought of by many as Bengali. Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar have all reported endemic discrimination against Rohingya.

In the past six months ethnic tensions in Arakan (where most Burmese Rohingya ...

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April 1, 2012

Update on Trials in Madagascar, 24 March 2012

Map of MadagascarFJKM pastor Valisoa Rafanonerantsoa went to trial in Madagascar on 24 March 2012, accused of involvement in military opposition to the government of Andry Rajoelina.  At the end of the day the trial was adjourned without a verdict, without clear indication as to when a verdict will be rendered.  According to press accounts, there were 36 people on trial for the military uprising/civilian worship service on 20 May 2010, 25 military and 11 civilians, only 25 of whom showed up in court.  Those who came to the trial from jail were taken back to jail, their petitions for release ...

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March 14, 2012

First ICC verdict addresses exploitation of children in situations of armed conflict

The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced its first verdict today. The court found Thomas Lubanga Dyilo guilty of conscripting, enlisting, and actively using children under the age of 15 in hostilities in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2002 and 2003. Lubanga was one of the leaders of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC), a rebel group implicated in serious human rights abuses, including ethnic massacres, torture, rape, and the recruitment of children, some as young as seven. Congolese authorities transferred Lubanga to the ICC's custody in March 2006. His trial began in January ...

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December 26, 2011

Toward a More Humane Future - Article 3

Toward a More Humane Future is a devotional study on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for use by individuals or groups.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and security of person.


Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everlasting stream.

Amos 5:24

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.  Let your gentleness be known to everyone.  The Lord is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And ...

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December 2, 2011

Words save lives

Will you write a letter to save a life?

I will.

Tonight I signed up to participate in Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon between December 3 and December 11. This time period includes Human Rights Day.

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world will take part in the Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon; Amnesty International calls it the world’s largest human rights event:

Through letters, cards and more, we take action to demand that the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses, and ...

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May 14, 2011

Amnesty International 2011 report on Madagascar

Amnesty International has released its 2011 report on Madagascar: Human rights violations were committed with almost total impunity by the security forces, including unlawful arrests and detentions, excessive use of force against demonstrators and attacks on journalists and opposition leaders....

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March 26, 2011

Madagascar: Route to Democracy Needs Revision

As people clamor for democracy across North Africa, the United States has an opportunity to support a return to democracy in Madagascar. The United States can do this by calling on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to revise the...

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November 7, 2010

Sources of information on the Madagascar crisis

Dan Turk, who with his wife Elizabeth serves as a mission co-worker in Madagascar for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), identifies the following sources for information on the crisis in Madagascar. Note that many of the news sources are available in...

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June 2, 2010

We do believe in life

Presbyterian Mission Co-worker Richard Williams spent time in late May in San Onofre. He traveled there with two pastors from La Iglesia Presbiteriana de Colombia. They went to stand in solidarity with Rogelio Martínez Mercado’s family and community as they...

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November 1, 2009

UN General Assembly to consider UN probe into Gaza conflict

The United Nations General Assembly will meet on November 4 to consider the report [PDF] of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. The Mission was appointed on April 3, 2009 “to investigate all violations of international human...

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July 27, 2009

Crisis in Honduras

Here are some sources of information on the situation in Honduras Presbyterians at work in Honduras Latin American church council demands restoration of Honduras democracy Human Rights at Risk in Honduras - Latin America Working Group Why Honduran splits became...

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July 17, 2009

Ten against Torture

Send a letter to President Obama that speaks against torture. President Obama reads 10 hand-picked letters every day to get a glimpse of what's on people's minds and in their hearts. With that in mind, Amnesty International has compiled powerful...

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July 11, 2009

Protect Iranian protestors

This post is based on reports from Amnesty International (U.S.A.). Amnesty International urges concerned individuals to contact Iranian authorities on behalf of Iranians arrested for protesting election results. Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner in the June 12...

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June 17, 2009

Speak against violence in Iran

Demonstrations in Iran, following the June 12 elections, apparently are being met with violence. Amnesty International reports that as many as five students at Tehran University were shot dead over the weekend and another person was wounded when security agents...

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November 14, 2008

Protect Civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Amnesty International has posted an alert allowing us to act on behalf of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The situation in the DRC remains on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. The priority at the moment...

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