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Oblates Benefit from VIVAT International Workshop in India August 26th, 2011
Seventeen Oblates from Asia (India, Jaffna, Colombo, Bangladesh, Japan) participated in a VIVAT International workshop held in Indore, India from August 8 to 11, 2011. Also present were Daniel LeBlanc, OMI from the UN in New York and Camille Piche, OMI from OMI JPIC in Rome.
Participants experienced the many social action activities of the SVD and SSpS, and Adorers of the Previous Blood, and heard the heart-breaking story of an Eritrean Comboni sister working amongst the Bedouins in Israel-Palestine who told of the daily bulldozing of Bedouin and migrant houses. It was very inspiring to listen to the bold direction of the SVD and SSpS to opt for social action amongst the Dalits and Tribal peoples instead of work in parishes.
The VIVAT workshop invited the participants to go a step further and through advocacy, work for structural change by taking on the issues and injustices suffered by the poor, and deal with the root causes of injustices by empowering the poor to take these issues to local, provincial, regional, state, UN, EU etc. levels where decisions are taken regarding the poor. Everyone found the workshop to be very worthwhile.
A Workshop report giving a short summary of the proceedings is available. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Sr. Mary John, SSpS and Fr. Richard Quadros, SVD formed the drafting committee.
NGO Proposal for UN Commission on Social Development February 27th, 2011
At the United Nations, members of Civil Society (CSO) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) work hard to find better ways of promoting development, especially for those living in poverty. The OMI and Vivat International representatives are deeply involved in this process.
NGOs working at the UN have recently produced a document to tell governments of the world what they think does not work in their approach to development , as well as suggestions for what might promise much better results and help to eliminate extreme poverty in the world.
The Forty-Ninth session of the Commission for Social Development was held from Wednesday, 9, to Friday, 18 February 2011. Many Non-Governmental Organizations (including “OMI” and “VIVAT International”) are part of the Social Development Committee and the Sub-Committee on the Eradication of Poverty. The document referenced above was read by the Chairperson of the Committee at the opening session and has been officially received as a UN Document.
Human Rights Day Resource Available December 10th, 2010
The theme for Human Rights Day 10 December 2010 is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.
Human rights defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed on this day. VIVAT International has prepared a very useful resource for the occasion.
Oblates Engage in COP10 – Biological Diversity Convention in Japan November 16th, 2010
Bradley Rosario, OMI sent a brief report on collaboration between the Oblates, Spiritans and the Society of the Divine Word to engage with the COP10 held last month in Nagoya, Japan, The “Conference of the Parties” Convention on Biological Diversity takes place roughly once every two years. The common theme of COP10 was “Toward the Harmony of Humans and Nature”.
During COP10, VIVAT International and the Institute for Social Ethics of VIVAT’s affiliate Nanzan University, organized a side-event, namely a symposium on “Integrating Religious Values and Greater Stakeholder Participation into Environmental Governance”.
Fr. Tomas Vyhnalek, OMI has been appointed as an official representative of VIVAT International at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria. The UN in Vienna focuses on Drugs and Crime and Fr. Vyhnalek intends to focus on Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling, Criminal Justice, Prison Reform and HIV-AIDS. All of these are issues that are of prime interest to the Oblates as well as to VIVAT.
This July appointment to the UN in Vienna, coupled with that of Daniel LeBlanc at the UN in New York and the growing network of VIVAT Congregations with members in different countries, increases the opportunities for the “voices of the poor to be heard where decisions are taken affecting their lives” (CC.RR 9a) on the above issues as well as on the Millennium Development Goals. VIVAT has an International Executive Team working in New York and a regional office in Geneva.