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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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Posts with category: Justice

December 10, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 16: Human Rights Day

by Paul Olson

The drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specified thirty articles: rights and freedoms essential for the achievement of dignified living for all people. These rights include civil, political, social and economic liberties. The declaration represents the belief that persons can only flourish if there rights and freedoms are respected. The drafters assumed that signers not only believed conceptually in the idea of inherent human dignity, but also accepted the personal obligations that go hand in hand with peaceful development.

We have been challenged these past 16 days to consider the right of women and girls ...

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December 9, 2015

International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime

by Paul Olson

UN Symphony playingDag Hammarskjöld used to invite people over to his house to listen to records of Johann Sebastian Bach. Considering all that Mr. Hammarskjöld had to do as the UN's second General Secretary, this seems really odd. But today’s event began with the UNSRC orchestra playing Johann Sebastian Bach's  "Air". As the group played I was reminded of the power of music to convey the human ideals of harmony and beauty.

In the process of remembering, "we have learned that symbols matter." said David Tolbert, President of the International Center for Transitional Justice ...

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December 8, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 14: Domestic Violence

by Robert Arrington

Today we draw attention to the issue of violence enacted on women and girls in the home. Domestic violence can occur against women and men, boys and girls. It is a huge problem and is often unreported and never adequately addressed. It can often have devastating effects on the children in the home, especially. During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, here are a few alarming statistics facing women and girls who experience domestic violence:

More than 60% of all women in the Pacific Islands have faced domestic violence or sexual assault. Violence against Women ...

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December 7, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 13: Cross-Cultural Vocational Training and Reducing Gender-Based Violence

by Paul Olson

One strategy in the fight against gender-based violence is to bring women and girls from different cultures and age groups together in vocational and entrepreneurial training. UK Aid  is supporting the work of UNICEF by reaching out to Syrian and Lebanese girls and offering free workshops. The Syrian girls are refugees in Lebanon. While their cultures and upbringing may be different, their shared experience as women and girls in difficult circumstances fosters understanding and hope. The workshops foster friendships and solidarity for women and girls who live in refugee camps or transitional communities.

How can you work ...

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December 6, 2015

16 Days of Activism - Day 12: Advent Reflection

by Robert Arrington

Today on the second Sunday of Advent, we consider the prophecy spoken by Zechariah in Luke 1:68-79:

 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, 
and has remembered his holy ...

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