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Civil & Human Rights2022-10-18T08:38:04+00:00

Civil & Human Rights

Woke Wars

The Editor, The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes in his Editorial: The etymology of the adjective ‘woke’ is interesting, not least as the word seems central to the so-called culture wars currently ranging in the United States and in many other countries, including the United Kingdom. ‘Woke’ derives from African-American Vernacular English meaning originally to being alert to racial prejudice and discrimination. From about 2010 it came to encompass a broader awareness of inequalities, such as sexism, racial injustice, LGBT rights and others. More recently it has become used pejoratively by the political right descriptively for a variety of leftist and progressive movements and ideologies. In the U.K. this has replaced an earlier turn of phrase expressed with irritation by some as ‘political correctness’. ...

Editorial: Call a ceasefire!

The Editor, The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: The long war in Ukraine has been put quietly to one side by the press, public media and politicians even though a relentless battle continues. That conflict precipitated by a much larger country invading a smaller has become a stalemate war of attrition and gone off the front pages. Ukraine has been eclipsed by the new conflict started by the horrendous and brutal attack by Hamas into Israel with the death of over 1400 innocent civilians, old and young and the taking of over 200 hostages. In turn it is hardly necessary to rehearse the consequent intense reprisals that have seen ceaseless bombing and military incursion into Gaza (often described as the largest open-air prison in the world) by Israel as it executes its intention to destroy Hamas. This brutal saga will likely continue until the various Western nations, principally the United States with, amongst others, the U.K. on its coat tails, decide it must stop ... if they are not too late by then. ...

In the 75th year anniversary of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a perspective on the emergence of BRICS in a changing world

Bishop Trevor Mwamba, President of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Zambia writes: The German word, Zeitgeist, aptly describes the emergence of BRICS grouping of nations. Zeitgeist encapsulates the spirit or mood of a particular period of history rooted in the ideas and beliefs of the time. BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The genesis of BRICS lies in the banking crisis of 2007-08 when the G20 asked countries such as China, India and Indonesia to provide liquidity to the Global North’s collapsing banking system. This Global North’s banking crisis created an opportunity to rethink the global financial system. For decades, the Global South has been concerned about the unfair trade practices of the North. These practices include the imposition of credit conditions that in many cases do little to ease the financial burden of so-called developing countries. Indeed, the conditions attached to loans secured from institutions in the Global North often leave the indebted country worse off than it was prior to execution of the loan agreement. Formalization of what the 1991 South Commission report dubbed “the locomotives of the South” created an opportunity to challenge Global North financial hegemony. After all, it was now clear that economic development in the Global South had not been helped by the Breton Woods institutions whose governance is tightly controlled by Europe and the United States. It is this reality that has made BRICS an attractive alternative in the eyes of many Southern nations. ...

The rise and rise of autocracy

The Editor - The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: Democracy is the de jure status of the world with only Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Afghanistan and the Vatican not claiming that system. The question must therefore arise as to what democracy really is? Increasingly, with a tightening of centralised state control, bringing the judiciary under governmental oversight and electoral manipulation, democracy appears more like a veneer of legitimisation for what are otherwise autocracies. We might initially cite as examples former communist states such as China or Russia but more worrying are countries such as Turkey, or even in the European Union, Hungary and Poland where the drift towards autocracy is growing. The term democracy is from the ancient Greek δημοκρατία. This can be broken own into dêmos (the common people) and krátos (force or might). Under the ruler Cleisthenes in 508 BC we first have Athenian democracy. Since then the freedom of the people has been hard fought both for and against. In truth the default position for most of human history has been autocratic rule by monarchs and dynasties. Democracy is a fragile flower that is always in danger of withering and reverting to autocratic rule. ...

Are we heading for World War III?

The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson (Editor: Anglicanism.org) writes: Amongst the many crises currently gripping the world a good number are linked directly or indirectly to the unprovoked disastrous invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin. It is important to attribute the onslaught on Ukraine to one man as, despite the existence of ultra-nationalists of a fascist disposition in Russia, broadly speaking the invasion does not seem to have universal enthusiastic support on the part of the people. Moreover, in a country starved of non-state impartial media many seem simply to have accepted (but little more) the official line. Of course, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what is going on and the famous dictum of Churchill in 1939 that Russian is “a riddle, wrapped inside a mystery, inside an enigma” still stands.

Call for the President and Prime Minister to resign

The Bishops of the Church of Ceylon write: We note with deep concern the deterioration of the state of our economy and the sheer sense of apathy with which those in power are approaching the plethora of problems faced by the people of our land.

A LATTER DAY PAUL WRITING TO HIS FRIENDS NEAR AND FAR FROM WELLINGTON, AOTEAROA

Paul Oestreicher writes: This seems a good moment gratefully to share with you some of the milestones on my pilgrimage, as my OBE citation says, for ‘peace, human rights, reconciliation, and the Church’. These are the things that will continue to motivate me. A state award – I had already received a German one – is only acceptable as an affirmation of these values and of all those who have worked with me to embody them.

Church and State – Church versus State?

Editorial June 2022 - The Editor, The Rev'd Dr. Nicholas Henderson writes: The British Prime Minister, apparently stung by the whole bench of Anglican Bishops in the House of Lords, has denied that it is his wish to expel them from the British second chamber. Rumblings amongst Boris Johnson’s ministers have followed the publication of a letter from 25 Bishops stating that the policy of sending some migrants who arrived from across the English Channel is ‘immoral’.

Statement on recent political developments in Sri Lanka by the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Ceylon

Whilst the rest of the world is understandably engaged with the war in Ukraine, trouble is emerging in Ski Lanka where the Bishops of the Anglican Church of Ceylon express their concerns ...

Statement on Clergy Conference 2022 by the Church of Ceylon

While the country’s problems have been brewing for years, spillovers from the crisis in Ukraine have sent the island nation over the edge

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