Building a Foundation for Social Justice

NETWORK

By Joseline Araujo

usa3My name is Joseline Anne Araujo, and I am a Junior at Trinity Washington University (Class of 2017), majoring in Sociology and minoring in History. This summer I was very fortunate to be accepted to an exciting program called Just Advocacy Week by NETWORK here in the heart of the District of Columbia.

About five months earlier, Sr. Mary Johnson, a Trinity sister of Notre Dame, who is one of my favorite professors at Trinity Washington University, introduced me to this opportunity NETWORK was offering for a week in the summer. I was excited because Sr. Mary’s honors Theology course had me very interested in the social justice movement, and what better way to join than with a famous organization right here in DC! Sr. Mary provided me with the steps to apply and spoke to me about other opportunities that she had in mind. However, she strongly encouraged me to apply to the NETWORK program; I did and was accepted to participate in June. Continue reading Building a Foundation for Social Justice

Priest’s murder in Congo shows the need for a new concept of martyrdom

Crux

By John L. Allen Jr.

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ROME — Around midnight on Sunday, a dozen armed men wearing uniforms of the army of the Democratic Republic of Congo burst into a social center called “My Beautiful Village,” located in the North Kivu region of the country bordering Rwanda and Uganda, where a meeting for peace involving traditional tribal chiefs was underway.

Their target was a Catholic priest named the Rev. Vincent Machozi, a member of a religious order known as the Augustinians of the Assumption, who operated an influential website documenting atrocities committed against his Nande people, also known as the Yira after the language they speak.

Machozi used the site to denounce what he saw as collusion among political elites, armed factions, and commercial interests in what he termed the “Balkanization” of the region in order to exploit its natural resources, especially its rich coltan deposits. Since 2010, so much violence has been unleashed on the Yira — often in grotesque fashion, including beheading by machetes — that activists such as Machozi have referred to it as a “genocide.” Continue reading Priest’s murder in Congo shows the need for a new concept of martyrdom

Forests Help Quench Urban Thirst – René Castro Salazar

InterPress Service

René Castro Salazar

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ROME, Mar 21 2016 (IPS) – The next time you turn on the tap to fill the kettle, you might want to spare a thought for the forest that made it possible. It may be a hundred kilometres away or more from where you are sitting, but the chances are that you owe your cup of tea, in part at least, to the trees that helped to capture the water, and to filter it on its long journey to you the consumer.

The importance of forests to the water cycle cannot be overstated. They slow down the flow of water, percolating it gently through the soil, ensuring stable year-round supplies even during drier seasons. At the same time, forests filter the water that enters our rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater, increasing the quality of this life-giving resource. Research in Burkina Faso has shown how a single tree can help with groundwater recharge, protecting water from evaporating from the soil, its root system allowing rainwater to filter more deeply into the ground, providing clean, safe drinking water. Continue reading Forests Help Quench Urban Thirst – René Castro Salazar

40,000 Former Convicts in Maryland Just Got New Voting Rights. Here’s How It Happened

YES Magazine

Just in time for this year’s presidential primary, a new law in Maryland will allow former offenders on probation or parole the right to vote.

Lynsi Burton

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At nearly 55 years old, Baltimore resident Perry Hopkins has never seen the inside of a voting booth. During the upcoming primary election in April, he will exercise his right to vote for the first time.

During the 19 years Hopkins spent in prison for drug offenses, he was not allowed to vote. But when he got out on parole, the state still barred him from voting, under a 2007 state law that required former convicts to serve out the full terms of their sentences before regaining their right to vote.

“For so long, I had a job, I was paying taxes, but I couldn’t even choose the president, much less anything going on in Baltimore.” Continue reading 40,000 Former Convicts in Maryland Just Got New Voting Rights. Here’s How It Happened

South Africa: Jesuit Institute urges ANC to ‘act for the common good’

Independent Catholic News

The Jesuit Institute has issued the following statement today:

The African National Congress (ANC) has historically shown leadership in challenging times. In the early 90’s the leadership of the ANC courageously took the steps needed to bring South Africa back from the brink of civil war. Now, more than ever since then, the ANC needs to courageously steer the country through a mounting crisis: allegations that President Jacob Zuma ceded his executive power to his rich friends – the Gupta family. These allegations are serious because they are a gross violation of his oath of office in which he promises to devote himself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people. Continue reading South Africa: Jesuit Institute urges ANC to ‘act for the common good’

Tribute to a Slain Environment Activist

InterPress Service

By Amantha Perera

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Mar 15 2016 (IPS) – Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores, was in her early 20s when she co-founded the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (Cophin), a group that campaigned for the rights of indigenous communities in the South American nation.

Influenced by a mother, who took in fleeing El Salvadorian refugees, Cáceres was fully committed to her cause. She told friends and colleagues that her struggle was against ‘deadly powers’ that put profit before the rights of her people. In the last two decades, she saw colleagues being threatened, attacked and killed, but her work only got bigger. Continue reading Tribute to a Slain Environment Activist

UN report highlights ‘searing’ account of killings, rapes by South Sudanese forces

UN News Centre – Sent by Claudia McTaggart.

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11 March 2016 – A new United Nations report on the human rights situation in South Sudan published today describes a multitude of horrendous violations in “searing detail,” in particular by Government forces, including cases of civilians burned alive or cut to pieces and a teenage girl being raped by ten soldiers.

Although all parties to the conflict have committed patterns of serious and systematic violence against civilians since fighting broke out in December 2013, the report says State actors bore the greatest responsibility during 2015, given the weakening of opposition forces.

The scale of sexual violence is particularly shocking, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) notes in a news release. In five months last year, from April to September, the UN recorded more than 1,300 reports of rape in just one of South Sudan’s ten states, namely oil-rich Unity. Continue reading UN report highlights ‘searing’ account of killings, rapes by South Sudanese forces

Japan marks fifth anniversary of tsunami and nuclear disaster

The Guardian

Emperor leads tributes to 19,000 people killed after earthquake, and PM says reconstruction is making steady progress

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

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Japan’s emperor has led tributes to the 19,000 people who died five years ago when a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s north-east coast and triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Across the devastated region, people observed a moment’s silence at 2.46pm on Friday, the exact moment in 2011 when a magnitude-9 earthquake – the biggest in Japan’s recorded history – unleashed a tsunami that engulfed entire towns and villages. Continue reading Japan marks fifth anniversary of tsunami and nuclear disaster

In ‘David vs. Goliath’ Fracking Case, Families Handed Major Win

Common Dreams

A court on Thursday handed down a $4.2 million verdict—and vindication—to two Pennsylvania families who said fracking contaminated their water

Deirdre Fulton

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A 10-person jury in court on Thursday handed down a $4.2 million verdict—and vindication—to two Pennsylvania families who refused to settle in a case pitting homeowners in the village of Dimock against a Houston-based fossil fuels company.

After a two-week trial at the U.S. District Court in Scranton, the federal jury found that Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., one of the largest natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania, had polluted the families’ well water. Continue reading In ‘David vs. Goliath’ Fracking Case, Families Handed Major Win

South Sudan army ‘suffocated 60 in container’

BBC

A rights group says it has evidence that South Sudan government forces deliberately suffocated more than 60 men and boys in a shipping container.

They then dumped the bodies in a field in Leer Town, Unity State, Amnesty International said.
In a separate report, the UN has also accused the government troops of deliberately killing and raping civilians.

The government denies its army targeted civilians but says it is investigating.

“We have rules of engagement and we are following them,” a spokesman for President Salva Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, told the BBC. Continue reading South Sudan army ‘suffocated 60 in container’