Pope Benedict XVI prays for “reign of peace” in Colombia

(VATICAN CITY) April 17, 2011 (VIS) – At the end of the celebration of the solemnity of Palm Sunday and the Lord’s Passion, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Before the Marian prayer the Pope addressed those present in various languages, exhorting them above all, “to live the celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Glorification in order to achieve the fullness of what these feasts mean and hold”.

“I am particularly speaking to you, beloved youth” he continued in Spanish, “that you accompany me at the World Youth Day that will take place in Madrid this coming August, with the theme of “Rooted and Built in Christ: Firm in the Faith”.

“Today I am also thinking of Colombia”, he continued, “where the Day of Prayer for victims of violence will be held this coming Good Friday. I am spiritually near to this initiative and earnestly urge Colombians to participate in it, at the same time I ask God for those in this beloved nation who have been appallingly stripped of their lives and their possessions. I renew my urgent call to conversion, repentance, and reconciliation. No more violence in Colombia, that peace there reign!”

Syria Grants Nationality to Stateless Kurds

London, 8 April 2011

The Equal Rights Trust welcomes Syria’s move to grant citizenship to ethnic Kurds who have been stateless for five decades. This is a positive step which if implemented properly will resolve one of the most entrenched cases of statelessness in the world, and allow hundreds of thousands of people to fully enjoy the benefits of citizenship for the first time.

The Government-operated Syrian Arab News Agency reported on 7 April 2011 that President Bashar al-Assad issued Legislative Decree No. 49 (the Decree), securing Syrian nationality for those Kurds registered as “Hasaka foreigners”. The Decree, which is one of a series of measures taken by the President to appease the public, was issued a week after Kurdish protestors joined widespread anti-government demonstrations in Hasaka.

The country’s largest non-Arab minority, the Hasaka Kurds were rendered stateless by a 1962 census carried out amid government fears that illegal Turkish immigrants had fraudulently registered as Syrians. Over the past five decades, stateless Kurds faced many restrictions on their rights and suffered persistent discrimination as non-citizens, including through prohibitions on property ownership and employment in the public service, as well as on establishing their own radio stations and teaching in Kurdish schools. Without Syrian passports, their freedom of movement was also heavily restricted.

“We congratulate Syria on this important decision to recognise its population of stateless Kurds as citizens,” Executive Director of The Equal Rights Trust, Dimitrina Petrova, said today. “We hope that they will now be able to enjoy all of their human rights as equals, free from discrimination. It is imperative that proper administrative measures are put in place to expedite the provision of citizenship to the Kurds from Hasaka, and all past injustices and disadvantages they faced are rectified through positive action.”

At least 150,000 stateless persons of Kurdish origin are registered in the North-Eastern region of Hasaka. However, an estimated 300,000 – 360,000 stateless persons who identify as Kurds live in Syria. It is not clear how many will receive citizenship.

Learn more about the Equal Rights Trust by clicking here.

Estados latinoamericanos ser más solidarios con los ciudadanos haitianos

El Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados Latinoamérica y el Caribe y el Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados y Migrantes – Ecuador,

piden a los Estados latinoamericanos ser más solidarios con los ciudadanos haitianos

Quito, 11 de abril de 2011.  El pasado viernes 08 de abril, el Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados y Migrantes de Ecuador, ofreció una rueda de prensa donde se informó a la ciudadanía sobre la situación de los ciudadanos haitianos en el Ecuador y América Latina.

El P. Fernando Ponce León, SJ, director nacional del SJRM, dio la bienvenida a todos los asistentes con el lema de la campaña en contra de la discriminación y xenofobia “Convivir en solidaridad” y envió un mensaje de inclusión y acogida a todas las personas que se encuentran en contextos de Movilidad Humana.

Seguido de esta intervención, Edson Louidor, coordinador de incidencia y comunicación para Latinoamérica y el Caribe (SJR-LAC),  informó que en los tres últimos años, América latina y principalmente Suramérica se ha convirtiendo en un nuevo polo de migración para los haitianos.  En 2009 había 75.000 haitianos en sur América y desde hace tres años hay presencia mucho más significativa de movimientos migratorios de haitianos en la región y las principales entradas serían por Ecuador y Chile, de esta última, en 2008 entraron 392 haitianos, en 2009 subió a 477, en 2010 ya ascendió a 820 y para enero de 2011 en un solo mes existe la presencia de 125 haitianos, manifestó Louidor.

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CMC condemns Thai use of cluster munitions in Cambodia

Thailand and Cambodia should join global treaty banning cluster munitions

(Geneva) April 6, 2011 — Based on two separate on-site investigations, the Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) has concluded that Thailand used cluster munitions on Cambodian territory during the February 2011 border conflict. Thai officials confirmed the use of cluster munitions in a meeting with the CMC on April 5, 2011.

This is the first use of cluster munitions anywhere in the world since the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force and became binding international law. The CMC condemns any use of cluster munitions, and urges Thailand and Cambodia to immediately commit to no future use and to accede to the global treaty banning the weapons.

“It’s appalling that any country would resort to using cluster munitions after the international community banned them,” said Laura Cheeseman, director of the CMC. “Thailand has been a leader in the global ban on antipersonnel mines, and it is unconscionable that it used banned weapons that indiscriminately kill and injure civilians in a similar manner.”

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