Tag Archives: Bishop

[Press Release] Philippines Visit Should Highlight Rights -HRW

Australia: Philippines Visit Should Highlight Rights
Foreign Minister Should Raise Concerns About Paralyzed Criminal Justice System

(Sydney, December 6, 2013) – Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should ensure that human rights are a part of her discussions with Filipino leaders, Human Rights Watch said today. She will visit the Philippines from December 7 to 8, 2013, after China and Indonesia. The new Australian government should reverse its policy of downplaying human rights in its contact with other governments, particularly in Asia.


“It would be an affront to the victims for Bishop to stay silent in the face of serious human rights abuses in the Philippines, Indonesia and China,” said Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch. “The new government thinks silence on human rights buys goodwill with Asia’s leaders, but a democracy like Australia should care more about its standing with the region’s people.”

Bishop’s visit to victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines should not ignore human rights concerns in the country, Human Rights Watch said. Australia’s close military ties with the Philippines put Bishop in a strong position in her meetings with Foreign Secretary Albert Rosario and other cabinet ministers to call for an end to security force impunity for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture.

She should also raise concerns about the impact on freedom of the media of the reported 10 killings of journalists in the past year, and the killings of a total of 24 media workers since President Benigno Aquino III took office in 2010.

Bishop should raise with the Philippine government efforts to promote the rule of law and its stalled proposal to create a “superbody” to investigate and prosecute extrajudicial killings, one of the Aquino administration’s promised reforms to the criminal justice system.

“Bishop should be asking questions about the Philippines’ paralyzed criminal justice system that fails to prosecute the people responsible for killings and disappearances,” Pearson said.

Given the recent tension over spying allegations, Bishop should take a united stand with Indonesia against indiscriminate practices such as mass surveillance, interception, and data collection, both at home and abroad, and support the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution on digital privacy, Human Rights Watch said.

Bishop should also urge Indonesia’s leaders to end the military’s unlawful surveillance of peaceful activists, politicians, and clergy in the easternmost province of Papua. This is part of a repressive policy that includes requiring foreign journalists and human rights groups to obtain official permission to travel to Papua. Bishop should publicly call for lifting these restrictions.

Bishop should raise the lack of protection mechanisms in Indonesia for asylum seekers and migrants, including unaccompanied children. Asylum seekers and migrant children are subject to arbitrary and indefinite detention in squalid conditions at Indonesian immigration facilities, where they face torture and other ill-treatment from guards. Even when asylum seekers are released – which can take over a year – they cannot legally work or move freely in the country and their children cannot go to school.

“If Australia really wants to address the influx of asylum seekers coming by boat, then it should help Indonesia develop its capacity to assess asylum claims and provide safe and humane conditions for refugees,” Pearson said.

In China, Bishop should publicly call on the administration of President Xi Jinping to enact major reforms to protect human rights. She should raise human rights issues alongside commercial and security concerns, especially in discussions with Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Foreign and Strategic Dialogue. Acknowledgement of the scale and scope of human rights abuses by the Chinese government has been noticeably absent from Australia’s public diplomacy with China, Human Rights Watch said.

Bishop should specifically press for the release of political prisoners, including the Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year-sentence for “incitement to subvert state power,” and an end to the unlawful house arrest of his wife, Liu Xia.

Although the two countries have an annual human rights dialogue, it is largely ineffective, lacking in transparency and benchmarks, while allowing human rights issues to be sidelined from high-level meetings. Bishop’s position should reflect the view that Australia’s long-term business interests in China depend on genuine rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights.

On Tibet, Australia’s Coalition government has said it will continue to push for “Chinese respect for Tibetan human rights.” Bishop should raise religious repression and ethnic discrimination that have fueled self-immolations to protest Chinese policies toward Tibet. Bishop should stress that counter-terrorism efforts should not justify ethnic repression and discrimination in Xinjiang or other areas of China.

“Having once-a-year chats with Chinese officials behind closed doors at a low level and with the wrong people does little or nothing to address large-scale human rights abuses in China,” Pearson said. “Bishop has spoken about being inspired by the Burmese Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. Jailed activists in China, including the Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo, also deserve her attention.”

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[People] Rediscovering the heart of faith – Service by Fr. Shay Cullen

Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullenWhen he bent down on his knees in the youth detention jail in Rome last Holy Thursday, washed and kissed the feet of the juvenile prisoners and also a mother and child and a Muslim, Pope Francis sent a message to Catholic Church leaders and to the world. It seems to say, change is here, we have to leave behind the pomposity, clerical child abuse and domination wherever it may be, and be humble servants of the poor and the wretched and give them dignity, justice and hope.

“To wash your feet, this is a symbol, a sign that I am at your service. But it also means that we have to help each other”. He then showed understanding of youthful impetuosity and their quickness to anger.

“It was normal to get mad at others, but let it be, let it be. If that person asks you a favor, do it. Let’s help each other. I do it with my heart because it is my duty as priest and as Bishop; I have to be at your service. It’s a duty that comes from my heart because I love doing this, because this is what the Lord taught me”.

He was of course imitating Jesus of Nazareth who washed the feet of his disciples as would a humble servant. Jesus was a charismatic leader with a passion for justice, equality and sought a spiritual and social revolution. How could the future leaders of the church be credible and teach, guide and expect others to follow moral principles and behavior, if they themselves did not teach by example. That is what Jesus was saying by his actions. Pope Francis seems to be repeating that message.

Blessed are the poor, Jesus said, theirs is the kingdom of God. This is what Pope Francis was saying also in a symbolic way. He sees a Church where humility has been replaced with arrogance and pomp, and privilege has replaced compassion and justice. He knows that abusive priests were allowed by some irresponsible Bishops to continue to abuse children with impunity. He knows that despite past apologies to victims by the previous Popes, church structures have not changed sufficiently to restore the trust and confidence of Catholics in the Church as a reliable, open, transparent, credible institution. Mitered heads may soon roll. Since his installation several years ago, my Bishop has never visited the homes for the juveniles in conflict with the law or the homes for the sexually abuse victims. It’s time to change.

Jesus challenged the religious authorities and infuriated them. Then they plotted his downfall and had him convicted as a political rebel and given the death penalty. They accused him of trying to be a King when in fact that was what he totally repudiated. That is the cruel drama that we reenacted last Holy week. Pope Francis will be walking on a few precious toes before long.

Jesus gave us the example of that special challenging love that drives a person to care for the stranger, and to help the poorest and most exploited and abused of society.

We can clearly see the message of Pope Francis when he was on his knees before the prisoners. He established by his words and action the rights, dignity and the fact that they should have a place in the world. He seems to be signaling to all Catholics to be a servant, a helper and to realize that being a follower of Jesus of Nazareth has duties and obligations that go far beyond attending mass and church ceremonies. This is what Pope Francis said of his mission today.

“I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons. Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil! Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!”

Well, it’s going to be a troubling future for many a traditional conservative cleric if the Pope expects the clergy to do as he does and skip the scarlet robes, gold braided vestments and privileges and live outside the gilded palaces in small apartments like the Pope himself. Next, he might expect them to take public transport like he did as Bishop and Cardinal in Buenos Aires or even more challenging, to imitate Jesus of Nazareth. http://www.preda.org

Email: shaycullen@preda.org (Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

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[In the news] RH bill, hindi tungkol sa sex at relihiyon, ayon kay Rep. Lagman -GMANews

RH bill, hindi tungkol sa sex at relihiyon, ayon kay Rep. Lagman
July 28, 2012

Sa harap ng mga prayer vigil na isasagawa ng Simbahang Katoliko laban sa pagpasa ng Reproductive Health (RH) bill, muling iginiit ng isang kongresista ang pangangailangan na maisabatas ang kontrobersiyal na panukala.

Sa isang pahayag nitong Sabado, binigyan-diin ni Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, awtor ng RH bill, na hindi usapin tungkol sa relihiyon o pakikipagtalik ang isinusulong niyang panukalang batas.

“RH (bill) is not about sex and religion, it is about health, human rights and sustainable human development,” paliwanag niya.

Una rito, nanawagan si Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) sa publiko na magsagawa ng mga prayer vigil bago sumapit ang Agosto 7, ang araw na dedesisyunan ng Kamara de Representantes kung itutuloy o pagpapahingahin na ang pagtalakay sa kontrobersiyal na panukala.

Mariing tinututulan ng Simbahan ang naturang panukalang batas na nagsusulong paggamit ng artipisyal na paraan ng pagpaplano ng pamilya o paggamit ng mga contraceptive at iba pa.

Sa ipinalabas na pahayag ni Lagman, umaasa siyang didinggin din sa dasal ang umano’y daing ng kababaihan tungkol sa problema sa kanilang kalusugan, unwanted at teenage pregnancies at laganap na kahirapan na kasama umano sa nais matugunan sa RH bill.

God will listen to prayers which elevate human life and development, and not to supplications which denigrate people’s quality of life and children’s advancement,” ayon sa kongresista.

Read full article @ www.gmanetwork.com

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[In the news] CBCP exec admits some priests support RH bill | The Philippine Star News Headlines

CBCP exec admits some priests support RH bill | The Philippine Star News Headlines.

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines –  Despite the staunch opposition of the Catholic Church to the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, there are some priests who support it, a bishop disclosed yesterday.  “Well, in the Church, there’s a space for dissent also… Even the 10 commandments, there are many who disobey it, right?” said Pampanga Archbishop

Paciano Aniceto, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, in an interview.

He said these priests have not openly voiced their support for the bill but bishops are aware of their positions.

“We leave it to their conscience. We respect that. But majority are not in favor. I think, in their own moral and theological discernment, we should respect them for that,” Aniceto said.

Read full article @ PHILSTAR.com