October 17th, 2013

Palestine: CPT Palestine plans new direction for its work


CPT’s Palestine team will stay in Hebron, a microcosm of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, and make human rights promotion a focus of its work, but plans to expand its work into new peacebuilding enterprises over the next three years.

Most full-time Palestine CPTers and several reservists gathered for a five-day working retreat in Bethlehem from 9-15 October 2013 (Israeli authorities denied Jonathan Brenneman entry into the country three times on September 17, 24 and October 9, so he was not present).  Under the guidance of professional facilitator Gerry O’Sullivan, they produced a three-year strategic plan, in effect through the year 2016.

October 16th

Colombia Reflection: On Going Home

The small farmers of Colombia have been on strike for the past six weeks. This meant that thousands of families and hundreds of communities took to the streets of Colombia, blocking major arteries along national highways and demanding change.  The mobilization took place as a result of empty promises from the Santos government, who have failed to provide agricultural subsidies, create the appropriate economic and social infrastructure, and facilitate a land reform process where Colombian farmers will be favoured over multinational investors.  Their demands also include an end to the Free Trade Agreements with Canada, the United States and the EU which have made it impossible for Colombian farmers to compete in their own national market.

So they shut the country down. Farmers traveled for days and camped out for weeks trying to negotiate with a government who refuses to recognize their human rights. After six weeks of striking, where five people were killed and many more were wounded, the government has agreed to work with various geographical areas individually to tailor resolutions for specific regions.

October 15th

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 16, 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 16, 2013

Pray for CPT al-Khalil (Hebron) as team members face increased obstacles from border security in crossing into Israel in recent months. Hope that authorities would instead support the team and its partners in working to end violence in Israel and Palestine.

October 14th

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog: Patience is a virtue

ABORIGINAL JUSTICE: Elsipogtog: Patience is a virtue

Standing at the BlockadeEntering its second week, the blockade at the Southwestern Energy Resources (SWN) “thumper” compound on Route 134 near Rexton, New Brunswick shows no signs of ending.

First Peoples from Elsipogtog and other communities, as well as Acadian and Anglophone protectors, make up the encampment. CPTers Chris Sabas and Carrie Peters also remain within the encampment, enjoying brief respites off site thanks to the generosity of local community members. Donated food and supplies continue to arrive at the encampment.

October 10th

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.