INTERFAITH, INTERRACIAL, INTERCULTURAL PRAYER FOR PEACE

INTERFAITH, INTERRACIAL, INTERCULTURAL PRAYER FOR PEACE
UN INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE 12:00 NOON IN YOUR TIME ZONE

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Amb. Zara Juan

Monday, May 14, 2018

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

#PrayforPeace #GreekIslands: Women and children threatened by sexual violence at refugee reception centres

Asylum seekers are reporting sexual harassment and violence at some sub-standard reception centres on Greek islands – where even bathing during the daytime can be dangerous – despite Government measures to address the dire living conditions, the United Nations refugee agency
“In 2017, UNHCR [the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees] received reports from 622 survivors of sexual and gender-based violence on the Greek Aegean islands, out of which at least 28 per cent experienced [such violence] after arriving in Greece,” UNHCR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly said Friday at the regular press briefing in Geneva.
Women reported inappropriate behaviour, sexual harassment and attempted sexual attacks as the most common forms of such violence.
“The situation is particularly worrying in the Reception and Identification Centres (RIC) of Moria (Lesvos) and Vathy (Samos), where thousands of refugees continue to stay in unsuitable shelter with inadequate security,” she added.
Some 5,500 people are in these centres, which is double their intended capacity. Reports of sexual harassment in Moria are particularly high.
“In these two centres,” Ms. Pouilly continued, “bathrooms and latrines are no-go zones after dark for women or children, unless they are accompanied. Even bathing during daytime can be dangerous. In Moria, one woman told our teams that she had not taken a shower in two months from fear.”
Identifying and helping survivors is hampered by a reluctance to report assaults out of discrimination concerns, stigma and retaliation, helplessness and insufficient trust to open up – including to UNHCR and medical and mental health experts from national services. Therefore, the actual number of incidents is likely to be higher than reported.
Over the past weeks, the authorities have accelerated transfers to the mainland, slightly reducing overcrowding, but crowded conditions continue to hinder outreach and prevention activities.
“Insecurity is another problem,” the spokesperson stressed. “Although there are police patrols, these remain insufficient, particularly at night, and don’t cover extended areas adjacent to the RICs, where people stay in tents without any security presence.”
Conditions are also building frustration among people, leading to a difficult and tense security environment, further raising the risk of sexual and gender-based violence.
While UNHCR welcomes Government measures to reduce the risk of sexual and gender-based violence, further steps must be taken to protect those in reception centres, including children, women and men.
Ms. Pouilly listed the steps, which involved gender separation – including separate shelters and secure and well-lit wash areas; improved conditions and services; greater police presence – with additional policewomen; more lighting in public areas; increased mainland transfers to ease overcrowding; additional staff dedicated to deal with the issue; and enhanced awareness-raising activities.
Exposure to sexual and gender-based violence worsens the already precarious experience of those fleeing war-torn countries and crossing sometimes dangerous territory to reach a safe haven.
“UNHCR will continue to work with and remains ready to support the Government to strengthen its operational response and build capacity, to prevent sexual and gender-based violence and to identify and refer survivors of [such violence] to appropriate services and shelters,” Ms. Pouilly concluded.

Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58560#.Wn-wV7ynFH0

#Pray4Peace: #Yemen Raging violence displaces more than 85,000 civilians

Yemen is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million in need, fuelled by ongoing conflict, a breakdown in public services and a collapsing economy.
“We are particularly concerned for those that remain in areas close to hostilities in Taiz and Hudaydah governorates,” said Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.
“As a result of prolonged fighting in those two governorates, conditions continue to deteriorate, exposing people to violence and disease without access to basic services,” she added, noting that the agency was “alarmed” as hundreds of people are forced to flee their homes each day, due to increasing military operations, particularly on the west coast.
Most of those displaced in these two governorates are trapped inside their homes or in caves as ground clashes, aerial bombardment and sniper fire rage around them.
In addition to new displacements from those fleeing the coast, UNHCR is also observing a spike from other frontline areas, including Yemen’s border governorates.
Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched an appeal for $96.2 million to fund its 2018 response for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
“Three years of conflict have inflicted suffering on millions, affecting every Yemeni – man, woman or child,” said William Lacy Swing, the UN migration agency’s Director General, from its headquarters in Geneva.
“With armed conflict ongoing, a stalled peace process and an economic blockade, Yemen is in the grips of a devastating protracted humanitarian and developmental crisis,” he added.

Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58564#.Wn-tDbynFH0
Surging violence across Yemen has resulted in the displacement of more than 85,000 people in just the last 10 weeks, the United Nations refugee agency reported Friday.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Work for peace - Pope Francis 2018 Message

Pope Francis celebrates a new year's Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)


Pope Francis offered his reflections on paring down non-essentials as he celebrated New Year's Day Mass Monday in St. Peter's Basilica and later greeted some 40,000 people in St. Peter's Square.
His advice included setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God. Doing so would help "keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting," Francis said.
"At the beginning of the year, we too, as Christians on our pilgrim way, feel the need to set out anew from the center, to leave behind the burdens of the past and to start over from the things that really matter," he said.
The Catholic church designates Jan. 1 as World Peace Day, and in his comments after Mass to the crowd in the square outside the basilica, Francis noted that this year's focus of the day was the search for peace by migrants and refugees.
"I desire, yet again, to speak for these our brothers and sisters who invoke for their future a horizon of peace," Francis said. "For this peace, which is the right of everyone, many of them are willing to risk their life in a voyage that is in the great majority of cases long and dangerous, willing to face hardships and suffering," the pontiff said.
In the past few years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed the Mediterranean from northern Africa in human traffickers' unseaworthy boats, desperate to reach European shores. The pope's foreign travels in 2017 included a voyage to Myanmar and Bangladesh, where the suffering of minority Rohingya Muslims, who have fled from the first country to take refuge in the second, was a central concern of his pilgrimage.
Francis in his appeal Monday said of refugees and migrants: "Let us not extinguish the hope in their hearts. Let us not suffocate their expectations for peace." He called for all to make commitments "to assure the refugees, the migrants, everyone, a future of peace."
The pope then prayed that people "work in this new year with generosity to realize a world that is more united and welcoming."
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Frances D'Emilio is on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio
Source: AP 
https://www.yahoo.com/news/pope-2018-forget-lifes-useless-baggage-empty-chatter-103053543.html
Pope on 2018: forget life's useless baggage, work for peace

Saturday, December 16, 2017

#Pray4Peace: #Palestine and #Israel: UN reaffirms two-state solution as only answer to ‘question of Palestine’

Miroslav Lajvak, President of the General Assembly at the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. UN Photo/Kim Haughton
The Question of Palestine is inextricably linked with the history of the United Nations and is one of the longest-standing issues on the Organization's agenda, United Nations Secretary-General António said in his message commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People last 29 November, 2017
Seventy years since General Assembly Resolution 181 was adopted, a sovereign and independent State of Palestine has yet to emerge alongside the State of Israel.
“I remain convinced that the two-state solution is the only one for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The resolution of this conflict would also create momentum for greater stability throughout the region,” stated Mr. Guterres.
Recalling his August visit to Israel and Palestine, the UN chief said leaders on both sides restated their commitment to a negotiated peace.
"I encourage them to tangible challenge this commitment and create conditions for a meaningful negotiation. The recent positive developments in intra-Palestinian unity should be taken up by the leadership,” he asserted.
The Secretary-General also reiterated his readiness “to work with all stakeholders, including the Middle East Quartet and countries in the region, to support a serious political process, drawing on all under UN resolutions, international law and agreements, that will achieve a two-State solution, end half a century of occupation and resolve all final status issues.”
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed read Mr. Guterres’ message at a Special Meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, before adding her own words.
Ms. Mohammed observed that for 70 years the UN has gathered on 29 November to support the Palestinian right to self-determination and independence and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
“Ending illegal Israeli settlement activity and demolitions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is crucial to the viability of a future Palestinian state and to realizing the legitimate national and historic aspirations of both people. Eliminating violence and incitement is essential to building trust,” she told the participants.
Ms. Mohammed stressed that with crumbling infrastructure, chronic unemployment and a paralyzed economy, Gaza is in a state of constant humanitarian emergency.
“This unsustainable reality demands urgent humanitarian, economic and political measures to support the Palestinian population. We must not leave women, children and youth behind,” she asserted.
“Ending the occupation and achieving a two-state solution is the only path to enduring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. There is no other option,” emphasized Ms. Mohammed.
For his part, General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák underscored that the situation needs full-time attention that extends beyond humanitarian support, to facilitate a peaceful resolution.
“I firmly believe that a two-state solution is the only answer to what we call the question of Palestine,” he underscored.
According to Mr. Lajčák, the international community must support conditions conducive to a successful peace process. In addition to immediately halting settlement expansion, other actions encompassed the cessation and condemnation of all acts of violence, including terrorism, as well as the incitement to these acts.
“When it comes to the question of Palestine, we have a responsibility and we have an interest. Palestinian people do not need our sympathy – they deserve our solidarity,” he declared.
Source:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=58188#.WjXKlNKnFH0

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Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador

Amb. Zara Jane Juan, Peace Ambassador
I choose to be a Missionary of the Interfaith, Interracial, Intercultural Sailing for Peace Program inspired and guided by the discipline and life of the Virgin Mary of the Catholic Church. I am a Catholic, a Lady Datin of the Muslims, a Buddhist in my Healthy Lifestyle and a Hindu in Purifying my Soul. With Free Thinking and Scientific Approach to my Peace Work, my life on the over-all is a whirlwind of Faith and Fate. I refuse donations to my peace work to prevent corruption but rather I decided to live a very simple so that I can fund it personally through my own personal income as Professional Resource Speaker, Author, Visual Artist, Playwright and Director

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