Philippines - Building back after Typhoon
Three months after Typhoon Haiyan struck, thousands of people in the islands of Visayas continue to reel from the devastation it wreaked. Debris from wrecked houses still litters the shores of many islands. Makeshift homes made of the same rubble have mushroomed amidst the chaos despite the numerous tents and bunks provided by both local and international aid. Many people in the largely fishing and farming communities still cannot earn a living because they have not been able to replace the boats, crops and equipment destroyed by the typhoon. Read more...
India - Shrinking space for freedom of religion in India
"The space for freedom of religion in India, in violation of the basic principles of human rights is shrinking", said Prof. Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. During his public lecture on the 26th of February, organized by Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, he expressed apprehension on the lack of State protection and institutional biases within the security apparatus for spread of communal violence as happened in States like Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa. Read more...
Europe - Jesuit organizations join European campaign on responsible mineral sourcing
A law proposed by the European Commission on responsible sourcing of minerals is not strong enough to prevent European companies' mineral purchases from financing conflict or human rights abuses, and falls far short of expectations", said the campaigners that included many Alboan, JESC, JRS in Europe and the Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources (GNMR) advocacy network. The Campaigners expressed disappointment that the Commission's proposal is limited only to four conflict minerals, and it calls for voluntary measures not compulsory. They say that the Commission's proposal threatens to lower international standards and start a race to the bottom.
US - Conf. President challenges deportations and the denial of human dignity
Fr. Tom Smolich, President of the U.S. Jesuit Conference recently penned this opinion piece on President Obama's deportation policies: "As President Obama's administration approaches a record-setting two millionth deportation, an immigration enforcement 'accomplishment' never achieved by any other president, many faith leaders are rightly focusing on the hardship that each of these deportations inflicts on families and communities torn apart by our broken immigration system. However, lost in this important debate as to whether Obama should suspend deportations is the dangerous manner in which these deportations are being carried out." Spain- The Oscar host the problem of child soldiers
The Spanish film "Aquel no era yo" (That was not me), written and directed by Esteban Crespo, has been nominated for the 2014 Oscar awards in the category of Best Short Fiction. Jesuit social organizations namely Entreculturas and Alboan, together with Amnesty International, Fundación Compromiso and Save the Children, working in Spain against the use of child soldiers, have supported the production of this documentary. Together with the documentary, the organizations met with the representatives of United Nations in New York, with the scope of having an International day against use of child soldiers. For more information ..., France - Confronting fiscal paradises, article by Projet
The French Jesuit review Projet has published an article speaking about fiscal paradises, expressing the need to fight against them for ethical reasons and also as a way of allowing States get back important incomes that can be used for the common good. The article has been commented at AFP (France-Press Agency) in February. Read the article...
India - West Zone Jesuit Social Activists prepare for Elections 2014
"Elections 2014: What is at Stake? What needs to be done?" was the theme on which sixteen Jesuits and 4 collaborators from 4 Provinces of the West Zone discussed between 6 - 8 February in Pune. Interacting with the two political leaders from the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (common people's party) they discussed some major concerns and issues of people and planned the course of action to be undertaken by Jesuit Social Centres in view of the General election to be held in April - May this year.
US - "No worker should be forced to raise a family in poverty"
Thus says a new Jesuit Conference Advocacy Alert which supports the Fair Minimum Wage Act to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour over three years. Currently, a mother of two working a minimum wage job earns $15,080 annually which is $4,450 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. This alert follows the lead of a recent US Catholic Bishops Minimum Wage letter to lawmakers which notes that the minimum wage, as a static number, increasingly falls short as family living costs steadily increase. Click here to learn more or take action on this new Jesuit advocacy opportunity.
Venezuela - Fr Virtuoso speaks about the situation of the country
Fr José Virtuoso SJ, Rector of the University Andrés Bello, spoke about the situation of Venezuela in an interview on TV, on the 14th of February. During the interview he mentions the sources of unrest that are bringing groups of people to protest in the streets and he also explains the difficult economic situation that is affecting the life of the country. Most of the protesters are young people that want to express their expectations and demands for the future. Listen to the interview in Spanish here...
Canada - Centre justice et foi, on memory of Julien Harvey SJ
As part of the 30th anniversary of the Centre justice et foi, from French Canada, the Centre has published a book on the memory of Julien Harvey SJ (1923 - 1998), who was co-founder and first director of the Centre. Fr Julien Harvey was provincial of French Canada at the time of the 32nd General Congregation. He was an enthusiastic promoter of the link between faith and justice in the mission of the Society. The title of the book is "Justice sociale, ouverture et nationalisme. Regards de Julien Harvey", and reflects on several issued of social justice. For more information...
A reflection on Ecology and ignatian spirituality
The project of caring for the earth is so crucial to the future of humankind that all traditions - humanistic, scientific, or spiritual - ought to make a contribution. From this conviction, there arises the question whether Ignatian spirituality has some distinctive inspiration to bring to the service of the environmental movement? I believe it has, says José Antonio García, SJ, director of Revista Manresa. Read more...
India - People's Manifesto ahead of the General Election in India
In January 2014, about 65 members of South Asian Peoples' Initiatives (SAPI) from all over India brought out the Peoples' Manifesto in view of the forthcoming general election in May 2014. The People's Manifesto is the outcome of their deliberations on 8 thematic issues: the economy, education, health, environment, social issues, political reform, cultural matters and issues of governance and security. Containing proposals and recommendations, the People's Manifesto has been framed with the objective of making people aware of their legitimate rights and of the responsibility of those who contest the elections. Read m
Latin America - International Campaign promoting a culture of hospitality
On January 19, World Day of Migrants and Refugees promoted by the Catholic Church, the Provincials of Latin America endorsed the Campaign promoting a culture of hospitality, an initiative launched by the Jesuit Network for Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Campaign is a joint initiative of this network together with the International Federation of Fe y Alegría, the Christian Life Communities and the Federation of Latin American Jesuit and Ignatian schools. To read more about the Campaign and its objectives...
Belgium - Fr. Ziad Hilal on the Syrian situation
In the course of an evening meeting on "Christians in Syria held in Belgium, Fr Ziad Hilal SJ, from the Jesuit Refugee Service in Homs, Syria, spoke about the situation of the country and the sufferings of the population. The main message from Father Hilal was twofold. First: there is hope for the future of Syria when you see all that is being doen through common relief efforts. Secondly: do not focus your attention solely on the Christians in Syria, but think of the Syrian people as a whole. In the lively discussion that followed there were remarks regarding outside forces that influence the conflict, on the exodus of Christians and questions about the millions of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. See a video of Fr Ziad Hilal...
CPAL - Roberto Jaramillo sj, new Conference Social Coordinator
Last January Roberto Jaramillo SJ replaced Alfredo Ferro SJ as new Social Coordinator for Latin America. Originally from Colombia, he has been working in the Amazonian Region in the last few years. Now he has already moved to Lima, which will be his base. Fr. Alfredo Ferro will participate in the Pan -Amazonian project in which Jesuit Provinces that have a share of the Amazonian jungle will be involved. We thank him for all his good work and support during the six years when he was in charge of the Social Coordination in Latin America.
Philippines - Collaborative response to disaster risk reduction
In the aftermath of the typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, Pedro Walpole SJ reflects on our contributions to ongoing efforts in rehabilitation, reconstruction, and re-design. These efforts are aimed at helping people build homes anew and live and work in safe structures, pursue a livelihood to meet their needs, and engage with local government to ensure that basic services are present. His reflections may be useful to Jesuits in other locations where disasters are likely to hit populations in the future, affecting mostly the poor and the vulnerable. To read the article ...
Italy - "Rome for peace and humanitarian action" Prize to Centro Astalli
On December 19, the Astalli Centre in Rome was awarded the prize: "Rome for Peace and Humanitarian Action" by the mayo r of Rome, Ignazio Marino. Fr. Giovanni La Manna, president of Centro Astalli (JRS in Italy), receiving the award said: "I want to dedicate this award to all the refugees whom we encounter every day at the Centro Astalli, especially all the 336 Eritreans who died on the coast of Lampedusa in an attempt to reach Europe to seek asylum. Let us feel responsible for those deaths and commit ourselves to preventing this from happening again." Read more...
Peru - Jesuit Archbishop Barreto defends the vulnerable against mining
Msgr Barreto SJ has addressed the President of the Peruvian Republic, as well as its Ministers and Congressmen, expressing his concern about the situation facing the population when mining activities restart at Morococha (Huancayo). He asks the authorities to guarantee the health, employment and education of the people in that area. Read the letter from Msgr Barreto ...
Europe - For a 'Just Cause': Campaigning on Conflict Minerals
In the context of European Union raising its concern for a legislation on 'Conflict Minerals', Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC), Alboan (Loyola Province) and Jesuit Missions-UK brought together around 30 people from various networking groups including Global Ignatian Advocacy Network on Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources (GIAN-GNMR), between December 11-13, 2013 in Bilbao, to reaffirm their commitment to work together, to raise awareness and to contribute to the advocacy strategy along with other networks such as EURAC and CIDSE. The group shared testimonies from Democratic Republic of Congo and Colombia, critically reflected on the proposed EU legislation and prepared advocacy strategy for future action.