October 10th, 2013

Iraqi Kurdistan: The case of one political prisoner

In May 2013, Amnesty International (AI) contacted CPT and asked whether the team in Suleimani would be willing to meet with a lawyer involved in a case covered by AI. Lawyer Kak Umer told CPT that the former General Director of the ASAISH (Iraqi Kurdistan intelligence and security forces) Haqim Qader arrested Kak’s brother, Hussein Hama Ali Tawfiq (known as Hajji Hussein), and allegedly ill-treated him in prison demanding Hajji Hussein sign confessions against others. Hajji refused and repeatedly suffered beatings and threats.* After his release, he left Kurdistan for Germany to receive treatment for his injuries.

While Hajji Hussein was in Germany, CPT met with others involved in the case, including another international organization. CPT learned the case is connected to a larger case. CPT met with another person allegedly mistreated, and with Mrs. Sakar, wife of a former Suleimani mayor, who died in prison in unclear circumstances.

October 8th

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 9, 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 9, 2013

Give thanks for the gift of friendship between CPT Colombia team members and an 11-year-old artist from their neighborhood. Pray for the team’s peacemaking in relationship-building with neighbors and partners as they all work toward ending violence in Colombia.

October 5th

Elsipogtog: Blockade Begins

On Sunday, 29 September 2013, Elsipogtog women protectors blocked the entrance to a recently constructed compound housing Southwestern Energy Resources Canada (SWN) equipment on local Highway 134, near present-day Rexton, New Brunswick.  The compound is located on Elsipogtog traditional territory, which is unceded land.

Within minutes they were joined by other indigenous protectors, as well as Acadian and Anglophone community members. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attempted to re-secure the entrance to the compound, but the unarmed protectors successfully stood their ground. An encampment was erected. At the time of this release, the blockade has entered its fifth day. All SWN property within the compound remains untouched and unmolested.

October 3rd

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 2, 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 2, 2013

Pray for indigenous leaders and CPT members accompanying them on a delegation to Britian Oct. 2–9 in support of First Nations land rights. Also lift up the Elsipogtog First Nation in its nonviolent efforts to protect the water and land.

September 29th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Entery Denied: Part II*

I made a second attempt to cross the border. Spoiler alert, I didn’t make it. 

I have been volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Palestine for one year. Due to visa restrictions all volunteers have to come into the country under a tourist visa, and leave every three months to renew our visas. Last week I was returning across the Allenby Border Crossing for my fourth stint. I was questioned extensively about myself, my family, my plans for my visit, and the work of CPT. After 7 hours of questioning and waiting I was told I was denied entry. I asked the reason for my denial. They did not give a clear answer, but did suggest that part of the reason involved not having sufficient evidence to support back my story. The soldier suggested I return later with a letter from CPT, evidence of where I was going to stay, and added that I should get a letter from the Israeli embassy. I took his advice, but the Israeli embassy was closed for over a week. So I returned to the border with a letter from CPT stating our work, my position, and my purpose for entering the country. I also printed out two letters from Israeli friends ‘inviting’ me. 

September 27th

CPT INTL: And then they attack you and want to burn you

Can you support CPT this month? We're approaching the end of our fiscal year on October 31st and we still need to raise $55,000 to make our target for this fiscal year.

Our partners need our support now more than ever.

Ruins of House burnt down in Las Pavas on September 17.

Colombia: On September 17, a home belonging to a member of the Las Pavas community was burnt down with about 1500 kg of corn stored inside. This act of arson is a devastating loss for the farmer who lost his home and is just the latest attack in a campaign of terror by those who want to push them off their land. With your support, CPT walks with them and many other communities in Colombia struggling for a dignified life on their own land.

Palestine: On the same day, September 17, Israeli authorities denied full-time CPTer Jonathan Brenneman entry into Israel. He was the third CPTer in three months that the Israeli government has turned back from their peacemaking work with our Hebron-based team. Brenneman’s denial of entry came the day after the team witnessed bomb detonation and machine gun fire in in Firing Zone 918 where the IDF is trying to displace twelve Palestinian villages. With your support, CPT walks with them and the many other communities in Palestine struggling for a dignified life on their own land.

September 26th

Colombia Reflection: Friendship and Peacemaking

At its essence, peacemaking is about relationship-building among individuals and communities, whether they are strangers, enemies, or friends. Peacemaking as relationship-building has its roots in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. More significantly for me, I have experienced peacemaking as relationship-building in my life in concrete, embodied ways, with women, children, and men in the communities where I’ve worked with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

This was proven again as I began a friendship with Aliana*, a delightful, curious girl from my neighborhood in Barrancabermeja, Colombia, where I live and work with CPT.

When I presented the idea of painting the new CPT logo on the wall of our new CPT office, I thought it would be great to involve a local artist. Fellow CPTer Pierre knew a painter who could do an excellent job; her name is Aliana. I was excited, immediately thinking she would be a university student or a member of the local peace movement. To my delight and surprise, I learned she is an 11 year-old girl from the neighborhood known for her artistic gifts.

September 25th

Aboriginal Justice: Breaking News - CPT invited to accompany delegation to Britain

Indigenous and faith leaders in Canada have invited Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) to accompany a delegation to Britain from 2-9 October, 2013, marking the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

The Proclamation of King George III was an attempt following the Seven Year's War to set policy for the new British territories in North America. The proclamation is significant for recognising a form of territorial sovereignty for First Peoples, including the Crown's need to secure consent for future settlement or expansion.

Although the Canadian Constitution recognises “existing aboriginal and treaty rights,” the government continues to neglect the need for consent for projects affecting First Nations peoples, contributing to widespread land-rights violations.

In the United States, the protection from predatory settlement offered by the Royal Proclamation was one of the causes for the American Revolution, as settlers broke away from imperial Britain to pursue expansion unfettered by agreements with the First Peoples.

Mi'kmaq campaigners involved in the current resistance to shale gas extraction recently referenced the Royal Proclamation in an official request for the Queen's intervention. The team will support this call, and connect with UK anti-fracking campaigners.

#GIVINGTUESDAY It was important that CPT was able to send representatives on short notice after it received the invitation from indigenous leaders.  We need to have a reserve of funds so that we can respond to requests such as these.  They go a long way toward building alliances and trust.


Prayers for Peacemakers, September 25, 2013

Epixel* for 29 September 2013 
Gal KobiQitoun Checkpoint
The LORD opens the eyes of
the blind.
The LORD lifts up
those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over
the strangers; he upholds
the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked
he brings to ruin.
Psalm 146:8-9

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 25, 2013
Pray for the family of Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi, killed by a Palestinian sniper this week in Hebron.  In reprisal, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authorized settlers to take over a building in Hebron near the checkpoint that CPTers monitor every morning for school patrol.  Having a new Israeli settlement near the checkpoint will greatly increase the physical risk to children and teachers coming to school, as well as making the lives of the people living in the neighborhood a nightmare.


Related Story: AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers re-occupy Abu Rajib house

September 24th

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers re-occupy Abu Rajib house

On 23 September 2013, in response to the death of Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for illegal settlement expansion in the Old City of Hebron.

At 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday 24 September, the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron received reports from the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee that Israeli settlers had re-occupied the Abu Rajib house west of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.  Settlers had been evicted from the building in April of 2012.

The resettlement of the Abu Rajib house is a direct and significant risk to the community of Hebron, international law, and human rights, as settlements are illegal under international law and impede the ongoing peace process.

In addition to the illegality of the settlement, the location of Abu Rajib will constitute a severe threat to the freedom of movement for Palestinians.  The house sits between two Palestinian Schools and Israeli military checkpoint 209, which CPT monitors every morning as part of its school patrol.  If the settlement remains, it will be in the middle of an area hundreds of Palestinian children must pass each morning to attend classes.