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Flashpoints

  • July2The Sisters of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin helped produce a short DVD entitled “Conquering One’s Dignity” (In Portuguese, French, English and Spanish), a tribute to 35 courageous Brazilian families who obtained land that had been confiscated and later abandoned by large land owners. The SASV’s had shared their struggle to live and fight for the rights to occupy abandoned sugar cane plantations and grow / harvest their own crops. The people had faced gunmen hired by wealthy land owners, the poisoning of their crops, multiple evictions and destruction of their settlements. Finally granted the right to build homes, develop that land and sell their produce, they have created a settlement called Flor de Bosque (Flower of the Forest), and hope to build a church and community center.

 

  • A joyful celebration, with the theme “Providence brings to life in Valparaíso,” took place in the Chilean city where a major fire had left hundreds homeless in April 2013. The festivity marked the successful completion of new homes for 28 families affiliated with the works of the Sisters of Providence The sisters and their collaborators, including many young volunteers, had deliberately chosen to build larger, better insulated structures than those available earlier for emergency shelter. The February 2015 Boletín of the Chilean Province reported that the months of work transformed sorrow and loss into immense new hope and solidarity.

 

  • The CRC (Committee on the Rights of the Child) of the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights is a body of 18 independent experts who monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties. It also monitors the implementation of three “Optional Protocols” to the Convention, 1) on involvement of children in armed conflict, 2) on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography, and 3) on a communications procedure that allows individual children to submit complaints regarding specific violations of their rights under the Convention and its optional protocols. July3Carmelite Sisters of Charity (Vedruna) sisters Rita, Clarisse, and Niclette are seen here seeing Juliene off    at the airport in Libreville. The sisters work in Association Arc en Ciel, a street dweller girls’ program in Gabon; Juliene is preparing to fly to Geneva to present a civil society report to the CRC on the rights of children in Gabon. This is in preparation for the January CRC meeting, giving them the testimony of children who have been victims of violence. This is the first time civil society there (in this case, mostly different churches) have combined efforts to give a voice to the children.  This is an excellent example of how our sisters can be involved at the country or regional level in bringing the voice of grassroots people to the UN, in cooperating with other churches or civil society groups to form strong coalitions.